Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The four main types of noncommunicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

NCDs already disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries where nearly 80% of NCD deaths – 29 million – occur. They are the leading causes of death in all regions except Africa, but current projections indicate that by 2020 the largest increases in NCD deaths will occur in Africa. In African nations deaths from, NCDs are projected to exceed the combined deaths of communicable and nutritional diseases and maternal and perinatal deaths as the most common causes of death by 2030.

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