Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They include cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. They disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, where nearly three quarters of NCD deaths—28 million—occur. Education, screening, and treatment are key to preventing unnecessary deaths from NCDs. For many years, we worked with partners to strengthen the Tanzanian health system’s ability to effectively treat NCDs and reduce unnecessary deaths.
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is the most commonly acquired heart disease in people under the age of 25 and often begins in childhood as the result of untreated strep throat. If left untreated, RHD can develop into rheumatic fever, which can cause life-threatening damage to the heart. From 2015-2020, Touch Foundation leveraged its long-term relationships in Tanzania’s Lake Zone to design a blueprint for an RHD identification and referral program that empowers and supports communities affected by RHD.