An overview of chronic disease surveillance

Italia V. Rolle, Geraldine S. Perry, Janneth Mghamba, Tiffany Gary-Webb, Evelyn P. Davila, Peter Nsubuga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Chronic diseases are projected to be the major causes of morbidity and mortality in low and middle income countries (LMICs) in the next 20 years. Given the growing burden of chronic diseases, surveillance of priority chronic diseases and risk factors is warranted for developing and implementing interventions in LMICs. However, in reality, chronic disease surveillance is in its infancy in many LMICs despite being well established in high income countries (HICs). The main objectives of this chapter are to: (1) describe chronic disease surveillance; (2) review priority chronic disease data sources and surveillance systems in LMICs and HICs; and (3) outline the steps for developing and implementing chronic disease surveillance in LMICs. Data for this chapter were obtained through literature reviews conducted using the World Health Organization and Library of Medicine databases, chronic disease reference books, and reports from selected chronic disease surveillance programs in LMICs and HICs. The findings from this review indicate there are several mechanisms for obtaining chronic disease surveillance data including death registration, continuous risk factor health surveys, disease registries, and health facility- based administrative data. The 2007 WHO assessment report of chronic disease surveillance capacity revealed that LMICs lagged well behind HICs in this area. This may be mainly due to a lack of resources and tools for having an effective chronic disease surveillance system in LMICs. Consequently, efforts are needed to provide LMICs with the appropriate tools, skills, personnel, and funding to implement essential chronic disease surveillance systems comparable to those in HICs. These added resources will aid countries in developing intervention programs to prevent and control chronic diseases while considering the limited resources available in LMICs. LMICs should collaborate with HICs in order to benefit from their knowledge of successful chronic disease surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNon-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Developing Countries
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781612099965
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic disease
  • Risk factors
  • Surveillance system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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