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Chronic non-communicable diseases, predominantly diabetes and cardiovascular disease are a major public health problem globally. The chronicity of these diseases necessitates a restructuring of healthcare to address the multidisciplinary, sustained care including psychosocial support and development of self-management skills. Primary healthcare with elements of the chronic-care model provides the best opportunity for engagement with the health system. In this review, the authors discuss aspects of primary healthcare for management of diabetes and hypertension and innovations such as mobile-phone messaging, web-based registries, computer-based decision support systems and multifaceted health professionals in the care team among others that are being tested to improve the quality of care for these diseases in high, middle and low-income countries. The goal of quality care for diabetes and hypertension demands innovation within the realities of health systems both in high as well as low and middle-income countries.