Chronic-Degenerative Diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are the main cause of death almost throughout the world. These are long-term pathological conditions that manifest due to a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors and are called chronic-degenerative diseases. This is a large group of diseases that mainly includes cardiovascular diseases (most often stroke, heart attack and chronic heart failure), diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Sub-Saharan Africa was for a long time “exempt” from this group of pathologies, which by definition affect the older population. However the incidence of these pathologies is increasing now, due to the longer and longer life expectancy in every corner of the continent, thanks to the greater capacity to treat diseases, whether infectious or not, which it has always suffered from.
In fact our direct experience shows us how, in the African healthcare centres, there is an increasing demand for cardiologic consultations for questions concerning hypertension and hypertensive and ischaemic heart disease, complications of diabetes mellitus and cancer, which are diseases that affect adults and the elderly at every latitude.
It is because chronic-degenerative diseases, like in the developed world, are chronic, that they have an ever increasing impact in terms of enormous economic costs but also the professional human resources needed to treat them. This situation is causing changes in healthcare policies in international cooperation and in the African governments and represents a new challenge for the future for Africa, no less than that of the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemic.
KeywordsChronic-degenerative diseases Africa Prevention Metabolic diseases
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