In Rwanda, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are among the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. According to 2014 statistics, NCDs account for 78,000 deaths, or 36% of total deaths per year in the country (13% cardiovascular diseases, 7% cancers, 2% diabetes, and 12% other NCDs). The major adult risk factors contributing to these NCDs include, but are not limited to tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, high blood pressure and obesity.
With the data above, the Rwanda government/Ministry of Health, in partnership with concerned civil society organizations, has put in place different measures, policies, and laws to combat the increasing burden of NCDs. To note is the “Car-Free Day” campaign launched in Kigali; one day every month, no cars are allowed in a designated Car-Free Zone, encouraging residents to walk, jog or bike and engage in mass sports and exercises as a community. Other ways that the government of Rwanda is responding to the NCD burden include incorporating NCD awareness and prevention into the national education curriculum; and raising taxes on nicotine-containing products and soft beverages in light of their contribution to lung cancers and diabetes.