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The Greatest Health Issue In Africa Today Is Not What You Would Expect

If you pay attention to latest news stories, you might assume that the biggest issues for Africa are communicable diseases such as Ebola or yellow fever. While diseases like this are certainly a concern, it is worth pointing out that Africa is slowly but surely finding the solutions to these problems. Take Ebola for instance.

In May of 2018, the ninth outbreak of Ebola in the Congo seemed to be at risk of spreading to Mbandaka, a city with a population of 1.2 million. However, there has recently been promising updates in this area. For instance, experimental drugs are being used to treat the disease, including a vaccine known as rVSV-ZEBOV. This vaccine is being used to treat people with the condition in rural areas as well as cities. As such, there is hope for the future of treatments for communicable diseases in Africa.

So, if this isn’t the main problem that the continent is facing, what is? The answer lies in the current growth of noncommunicable diseases or NCDs.

The Thread Of NCDs

This includes cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Recent reports reveal that NCDs are responsible for 50% of the deaths in many countries across Africa.

Indeed, by 2030 the World Health Organisation believes that the toll will be equal to the number of deaths caused by communicable diseases, malnutrition, and newborn deaths totalled. The WHO has also revealed that there are several key factors causing the growth of this issue in Africa. For instance, adoption of unhealthy lifestyles and a greater level of prosperity will have an impact with a recent report in the New York Times revealing that obesity could become a new epidemic in the continent. This is combined with the fact that an estimated two billion people across the world cannot get the medicines that they need.

Government Response

African governments are responding to the threat of NCDs in their countries, and one of the main ways that they are tackling this issue is with education. They are hoping that by providing the public with information about physical inactivity, high levels of drinking and even smoking that they can prevent the rise of some of these conditions.

However, the World Bank believes that treatment will still become an important aspect of expenditure for Africa in the next few years.

Ultimately, it is going to be important to ensure that the public can gain access for the treatment that will be necessary as these conditions continue to grow and develop. One of the issues with this is the cost. It is true that low government spending can lead to problems with the supply of drugs and medicine needed for noncommunicable diseases.

There are various solutions to this issue including value-based pricing. Introducing value-based pricing, the cost of treatment for health issues is determined by the impact that that particular treatment could have on the prosperity levels or even the economy of the country. This is just one of the potential solutions that should be explored when attempting to solve the growing problem of NCDs in the future.


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