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African Nations, Global Community Should Devote More Resources To Preventing, Treating NCDs

Financial Times: Africa’s warp-speed health revolution has an old threat
David Pilling, Africa editor of the Financial Times

“The leading killers of human beings are no longer the viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that have lurked for millennia in our sewage, in our domesticated animals, and in the parasites that bite or burrow into us. For the first time in recorded history, non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke, are the leading cause of death in every region of the world. That includes Africa. … Many people in poor countries are contracting non-communicable diseases at younger ages than in rich countries. The risk of early death from heart disease, diabetes, and other afflictions commonly referred to as ‘diseases of affluence’ are, in reality, becoming diseases of poverty. … There are several implications. First, poor countries need to devote more resources to preventing and treating non-communicable diseases. … Urban planning … is essential. Foreign aid also needs recalibrating. … Poor countries also need to crack down on killers such as pollution and tobacco. … Tilting the emphasis towards the killers of today does not mean easing up on those of yesterday. Infectious diseases are here to stay. … Yet fighting viruses and parasites must not blind the world to the evolving challenge…” (11/7).