Mitigating the rising burden of non-communicable diseases through locally generated evidence-lessons from Tanzania

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)



The burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is rapidly increasing globally, and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear the brunt of it. Tanzania is no exception. Addressing the rising burden of NCDs in this context calls for renewed efforts and commitment by various stakeholders. This paper highlights local initiatives and strategies to combat NCDs in Tanzania and provides lessons for countries with similar contexts.


We reviewed published and grey literature and conducted policy analysis on NCDs in Tanzania to examine the burden of NCDs and the national response addressing it. The documents included National NCD strategic plans, NCD research agenda, and reports from the World Diabetes Foundation and the World Health Organization. Moreover, a scoping review of ongoing NCD activities and programs in other countries was also conducted to supplement the evidence gathered.


The rising burden of NCDs as a result of the epidemiological transition in Tanzania called for the launching of a dedicated National NCD Control and Prevention Program. The Ministry of Health collaborates with local, national, and international partners on NCD prevention and curative strategies. This led to the development of important guidelines and policies on NCDs, including strengthening the capacity of health facilities and healthcare workers, increased community engagement and awareness of NCDs, and increased advocacy for more resources in NCD initiatives. Strong governmental commitment has been vital; this is demonstrated by a renewed commitment to the fight through national NCD week and related advocacy activities conducted annually. To ensure multi-stakeholders’ engagement and political commitment, all these activities are coordinated at the Prime Minister’s office and provide strong lessons for countries with contexts similar to Tanzania.


Multi-stakeholders’ engagement, innovative approaches, and coordinated governmental efforts to address NCDs have shone a light on addressing the burden of NCDs and may be sustainable if aligned with locally available resources. Such initiatives are recommended for adoption by other nations to address the burdens of NCDs.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Annals of Global Health