The rising incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases is of major global concern (World Health Organization [WHO] 2002). Worldwide, the proportion of overall burden of disease from all causes attributable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental disorders is expected to increase from 36% in 1990 to 57% in 2020 (WHO 2002). The burden from NCDs, or chronic disease, exceeds that of communicable diseases in all of the six WHO regions except Africa (WHO 2003). This increasing trend has been credited to longer life expectancy due to advances in medical treatment, public health initiatives, social development, demographic shifts and changes in lifestyle and working environments. Thus, chronic disease is a significant burden to patients, families, healthcare providers and healthcare systems.