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Journal Article


Amuyunzu-Nyamongo M. Pan. Afr. Med. J. 2022; 43: e167.


(Copyright © 2022, African Field Epidemiology Network)








Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes, mental and neurological disorders are the key noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) responsible for high morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) [1]. The main factors driving these conditions include weaknesses in the implementation of critical control measures including prevention, diagnosis, management, and palliative care at all levels of the health system. The achievement of the global target of the "reduction of premature mortality from four main NCDs (cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, hypertension and chronic respiratory infections) by 25% from 2010 levels by 2025" will depend on achieving the key risk factor targets for NCDs (tobacco and alcohol use, salt intake, obesity, and raised blood pressure and glucose) [2]. However, it is clear that most countries, and more specifically those in Africa, are far from attaining this target [3]. The Lancet NCDs and Injuries (NCDI) Poverty Commission found that NCDs and injuries cause over a third of all annual deaths among the poorest a billion, killing 800,000 annually among those under the age of 40 [4]. The report noted (in this group) NCDs and injuries kill more people every year than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and maternal deaths combined. The cost for managing these conditions is too high for the poorest a billion, with between 19 and 50 million people every year spending catastrophic amounts of money in out-of-pocket payments [5].

Mental health, which is closely associated with cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, respiratory diseases and other NCDs is a major concern in the region [6]. Mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, psychosis, neurological and substance use disorders, account for about 25% of all non-fatal disease burden. More than 700,000 people die yearly because of suicide. This is happening within a context of few trained mental healthcare professionals at all levels of the health system. It is notable that there can be no health without mental health. Indeed, between 2010 and 2050, the burden of mental and substance use disorders in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase by 130%, and 216.000 extra full time mental health staff will be required for optimal care [7]. Examining these three conditions - NCDs, mental health and injuries - shows that the African continent has a triple burden. The rise of NCDs, injuries and mental health conditions is estimated to cause more premature deaths on the continent than all other conditions combined by 2030 and, by far, will cause the most deaths and disability by 2063...

Language: en


injuries; mental health; Africa; Noncommunicable diseases


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