More surveillance data and information on surveillance systems is available at the following pages:


Risk Factors

Some of the major risk factors for Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) include:

  • Tobacco,

  • Hypertension,

  • Diabetes,

  • Psychosocial and environmental factors,

  • Physical Inactivity,

  • Poor Nutrition,

  • Obesity,

  • Other risk factors.

You can find more information on NCDs and risk factors at Infobase (WHO):


Social Determinants of Health

The greatest cause of disease is attributed to the social conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. In fact, almost all major diseases, including CVD and diabetes, are determined by a complex mesh of risk factors and these social conditions, known as social determinants of health (SDH), which are themselves shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at all levels (global, national and local) and influenced by policy choices.

Health disparities within countries, and the marked health inequities between countries, are caused by:

  • Structural factors: Unequal distribution of power, income, goods, and services; observed both globally and nationally

  • Social Inequities: Unfair access to and inequalities in quality of health care, schools, education, housing, working conditions, communities, urban and rural environments, and chances of leading a flourishing life.

Together, the structural determinants and conditions of daily life constitute the social and economic determinants of health. These include income and social status, social support networks, education and literacy (including but not limited to health literacy), employment and working conditions, social environments, physical environments, life skills, personal health practices and coping skills, healthy child development, biology and genetic endowment, health services, gender, culture, among others.

In Africa, poverty, unemployment and homelessness continue to hamper development with almost 50% of Africans living in extreme poverty. In Kenya, for example, 56% of the people live under the poverty line. Inequalities are also a big problem, with a small percentage of the population controlling the majority of the wealth.

In 2009, the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health published a report clarifying SDH and the processes that influence the health and well-being of populations and providing recommendations to reduce health inequities.

For more information on SDH, please go to:


Policy, Legislation and Environmental Change

Effective policy making to tackle health challenges must address underlying social conditions that make disadvantaged people more vulnerable. Ministries of Health cannot address such health challenges alone but can take the leadership in advancing actions/policy on SDH across government departments and the wider society.


Some useful resources can be found at various National Ministries in each country.