Infectious diseases are no longer the biggest killers of the world. Even in poor regions, they were replaced by non-transferable, mainly cultural diseases. But unprecedented success brings with it unexpected problems – in Africa, where people have often died of infections at a younger age, there is insufficient medical care for adult patients. Instead of cholera, poor people die from diabetes.
People in Africa face a higher age, with non-infectious diseases as cancer. However, local health care is not ready for this and, for example, in Uganda, there is only one radiotherapy unit waiting for the crowd,source:
Infectious diseases are not the leading cause of death in Africa since 2011. In 2015, diseases such as dysentery, pneumonia, malaria or tuberculosis in the African continent accounted for 44% of all deaths. This number is still high, in most parts of the world, infectious diseases are responsible for less than 10% of the total deaths.
However, the rate at which the number of victims of infections in Africa is falling is remarkable. In recent decades, their number has fallen three to four times faster than in developed countries. Africa is undergoing an extraordinary rapid medical revolution.
People live long enough
In 1990, 25% of the total number of deaths died in poor countries in diseases such as diabetes or cancer. In 2040, this figure would be 80%.
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 people from poor countries continue to experience such diseases at a later age than people from developed nations. Heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses, known as cultural diseases, are actually becoming diseases of the poor.
According to medical expert Thomas Bollyky, poor countries have to cope with the consequences of their success. This is because these countries fight infectious diseases with medical help from the international community. In developed countries it was not like that. In US cities between 1900 and 1936, mortality decreased mainly due to the filtration and chlorination of water. Better hygiene, quarantine and education have had beneficial effects before effective drugs emerge.
Concern of healthcare
Poor countries achieve the same results faster, but often without the institutional changes that have passed through the cities of the developed world. Deaths in children have fallen. But the result is too often sick adults living without adequate health care or employment opportunities.
Therefore, poor states will have to spend more money to prevent and treat non-communicable diseases. African elites often ignore the problem and look for care abroad. However, those who remain in these countries have, at best, very limited healthcare.
Africa is urbanizing at an astonishing pace, but cities are often unprepared and overcrowded by patients.
Reorientation to cultural illness must be in Africa and in foreign organizations. Cancer, upper respiratory disease, heart failure and diabetes account for 60% of deaths worldwide. However, only one percent of all aid in the developing countries is spent on health care for the treatment of non-communicable diseases.
Poor states must also take action against pollution and tobacco products. African governments must resist cigarette manufacturers and other supporters of unhealthy lifestyles.