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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-53

Rising Trends of Risk Factors for Noncommunicable Diseases in African Region


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication1-Mar-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kanchipuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2394-7438.201232

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Rising Trends of Risk Factors for Noncommunicable Diseases in African Region. MAMC J Med Sci 2017;3:52-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Rising Trends of Risk Factors for Noncommunicable Diseases in African Region. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 22];3:52-3. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2017/3/1/52/201232

Sir,

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for the death of more than 37 million people each year across the world, of which 75% have been reported in low- and middle-income nations.[1] Further, close to 42% of these reported deaths are said to be premature as they occur before an individual attains 70 years of age, with 8 out of these 10 premature deaths are again from low- and middle-income nations.[1] Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem, associated complications, and preventable nature of these diseases, the international leaders have formulated a global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs.[1],[2] This plan aims to minimize the number of NCDs-related premature deaths by one-fourth by 2025 through attainment of the nine voluntary global targets which predominantly deal with responding to the potential risk factors.[1],[2]

Moreover, the estimates from the African region indicate that millions of people are expected to die from NCDs by 2020, especially because of the fact that most of the adults from the region have at least one potential risk factor that augments the propensity for the development of NCDs.[3],[4] Furthermore, a gradual rise in the caseload of NCDs has been observed and it has been anticipated that by 2030, the morbidity and mortality associated with NCDs will mostly exceed the estimates related to infectious diseases.[3] This is a clear reminder that even though policy makers and international stakeholders have diverted the available resources for the containment of the infectious disease outbreak in the recent past, no way they should underestimate the extent of the risk posed by the NCDs as most of them can be averted by alterations in the behavior and lifestyle-related attributes.[5]

To ascertain the main reasons for the reported rise in the caseload of NCDs, the World Health Organization is supporting the African nations to conduct STEP-wise approach to NCD risk factor surveillance (STEPS) and global school-based student health survey (GSHS).[5] In fact, recently, a report has been released based on the findings from the STEPS and GSHS across different African nations.[5] The report clearly indicated a high prevalence of major risk factors (viz., tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, poor diet, and physical inactivity), with almost 25% of the surveyed adults having at least three out of four risk factors being present.[3],[5]

Moreover, it was observed that the prevalence of hypertension was highest in the African region when compared with any other region across the globe, with close to 46% of adults having high estimates of blood pressure.[3] In addition, the prevalence of daily tobacco use was found to be 12% and was associated with malignancy, chronic lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.[3] It was noteworthy that African region is encountering the problem of undernutrition and obesity simultaneously due to the failure of people to stick to adequate intake of fruits and vegetables.[5] Furthermore, despite low levels of alcohol consumption in the region, the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking among males is extremely variable.[5]

To conclude, owing to the fact that NCDs are life-threatening as well as significantly impair the quality of life of people, there is an immense need to take appropriate actions to reverse the existing trends. Further, the findings of these surveys have provided the program managers with an alarming picture of the health risks in the African region, and it is high time that health stakeholders and people themselves take appropriate action to reduce the prevalence of risk factors.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Noncommunicable Diseases − Fact Sheet No. 355; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs355/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Dec 22].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World Health Organization recommends cost-effective interventions to control the rise in incidence of non-communicable diseases in low resource settings. Int J Prev Med 2016;7:54.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Research Shows Higher Risk of Developing Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa; 2016. Available from: http://www.afro.who.int/en/media-centre/pressreleases/item/9285-research-shows-higher-risk-of-developing-non-communicable-diseases-in-africa.html. [Last accessed on 2016 Dec 22].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Tackling the rising trends of non-communicable diseases during public health emergencies. Int J Prev Med 2016;7:20.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. Report on the Status of Major Health Risk Factors for Noncommunicable Diseases: WHO African Region, 2015. Geneva: WHO Press; 2016. p. 1-24.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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