Thursday , October 21 2021

FT: A rapid medical revolution in Africa faces long challenges


The main cause of human death is no longer a virus, bacteria or microbes that have been lying in place for thousands of years. For the first time in modern human history, the biggest killer in the world is non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease or stroke. This concerns every region of the world, including Africa. This shift is an unexpected and unexpected success, the Financial Times wrote.

Infection is not the leading cause of death in Africa since 2011. In 2015, diseases such as dysentery, pneumonia, malaria or tuberculosis on the African continent accounted for 44 percent of all deaths. This number is still high, in most parts of the world, infectious diseases account for less than ten percent of the total number of deaths.

However, the rate at which the number of victims of infections in Africa falls is amazing. Over the past few decades, their numbers have fallen three to four times faster than in developed countries. Africa is experiencing an extraordinary rapid medical revolution.

In 1990, 25 percent of the deaths in poor countries were diseases such as diabetes or cancer. By 2040, this proportion will be 80 percent.

An increase in the number of non-communicable diseases is partly explained by the fact that people live long enough to develop disease. Many people from poor countries still face such diseases in old age than people from developed countries. Heart disease, diabetes and other diseases, known as diseases of civilization, actually become diseases of the poor.

According to medical expert Thomas Bollyky, poor countries must face the consequences of their success. This is because these countries are fighting infectious diseases with medical assistance from the international community. In developed countries this is not the case. In US cities between 1900 and 1936, mortality declined mainly due to water filtration and chlorination. Better hygiene, quarantine, and education have beneficial effects before effective drugs emerge.

Poor countries achieve the same results faster, but often without institutional changes that have passed through cities in developed countries. Death among children has fallen. But the results are too often sick adults who live without adequate health care or job opportunities.

Poor countries must therefore spend more money on the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases. African elites often ignore problems and seek treatment abroad. However, those who live in these countries have, at the most, very limited health services.

Africa is experiencing urbanization at an astonishing pace, but cities are often unprepared and crowded by sick people.

Reorientation to civilizational diseases must be in Africa and foreign organizations. Cancer, upper respiratory disease, heart problems and diabetes are responsible for 60 percent of deaths worldwide. However, only one percent of all aid to developing countries is spent on health care for the treatment of non-communicable diseases.

Poor countries must also take action against pollution and tobacco products. African governments must oppose cigarette producers and other promoters of unhealthy lifestyles.

FT: A rapid medical revolution in Africa faces long challenges

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