FT: The rapid medical revolution in Africa is facing old challenges


The main causes of human deaths are no longer viruses, bacteria, or microbes that have been lying for thousands of years. For the first time in the modern history of humanity, the greatest killers in the world are unbearable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease or stroke. This concerns every region in the world, including Africa. This move is unprecedented and unexpected success, writes the Financial Times.

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

Nevertheless, it is a wonderful step that reduces the number of infections in Africa. In the last few decades their number has fallen three to four times faster than in developed countries. The African crisis is going through an extremely rapid medical revolution.

In 1990, 25% of the total number of deaths due to illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer, has been lost in poor countries. In 2040, this share would amount to 80 percent.

The increase in the number of non-communicable diseases is partly explained by the fact that people live long enough to develop the disease. Many poor people still encounter such diseases at a later age than people from developed nations. Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other diseases known as civilization diseases actually become ill.

According to medical scientist Thomas Bollyk, poor countries must face the consequences of their success. This is because these countries are fighting infectious diseases with the medical assistance of the international community. It was not so in the developed countries. In US cities between 1900 and 1936, mortality decreased mainly due to water filtration and chlorination. Better hygiene, quarantine and education had beneficial effects before effective drugs emerged.

Poor countries achieve the same results faster, but often without institutional changes that have gone through cities in the developed world. Deaths among children have fallen. But the result is too often an adult who lives without proper medical care or employment opportunities.

Poor countries should therefore spend more money on preventing and treating non-communicable diseases. African elites often ignore the problem and are looking for care abroad. However, those who remain in these countries have, at best, very limited healthcare.

Africa is surprisingly calm, but cities are often unprepared and left to sick people.

Redirection to civilization diseases must be in Africa and foreign organizations. Cancer, upper respiratory disease, heart problems, and diabetes account for 60% of deaths worldwide. However, only one percent of each aid is spent on developing countries for medical treatment for the treatment of non-communicable diseases.

Weak countries should also take action against pollution and tobacco products. African governments must coincide with the manufacturers of cigarettes and other promoters of an unhealthy way of life.

FT: The rapid medical revolution in Africa is facing old challenges

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