Infectious diseases are no longer the greatest murders in the world. Even in poor areas, they have been replaced by non-transferable and, above all, civilizing diseases. But unprecedented success brings with it unexpected problems: in Africa, where people often died of infections at a younger age, there is not enough medical attention for adult patients. Instead of cholera, poor people die of diabetes.
People in Africa are experiencing a greater age, with non-infectious diseases such as cancer. However, local healthcare is not prepared for this, and for example, in Uganda, there is only one radiation therapy facility 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 percent of all deaths. This number is still high, in most parts of the world, infectious diseases are responsible for less than ten percent of the total deaths.
However, the rate at which the number of victims of infections in Africa is falling is admirable. During the last decades, their numbers have fallen three to four times faster than in the developed nations. Africa is undergoing a rapid and extraordinary medical revolution.
People live long enough
In 1990, 25 percent of the total deaths died in poor countries in diseases such as diabetes or cancer. In 2040, this proportion would be 80 percent.
The increase in the number of noncommunicable diseases is explained in part by the fact that people live long enough to develop the disease. Many people in poor countries still have later diseases than people in developed nations. Heart disease, diabetes and other diseases, known as civilization diseases, have become diseases of the poor.
According to the medical expert Thomas Bollyky, poor countries have to face the consequences of their success. This is because these countries are fighting infectious diseases with medical assistance from the international community. In developed countries it was not. In the US cities between 1900 and 1936, mortality declined mainly due to water filtration and chlorination. Better hygiene, quarantine and education had beneficial effects before effective medications emerged.
The preparation of healthcare
Poor countries achieve the same results faster, but often without the institutional changes that have gone through the cities of the developed world. The deaths among children fell. But the result is often the sick adults who live without adequate health care or employment opportunities.
Poor states would have to spend more money on the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases. African elites often ignore the problem and seek care abroad. However, those who remain in these countries have, in the best case, very limited healthcare.
Africa is developing at an amazing rate, but cities are often not prepared and overcrowded by ill people.
The reorientation to civilization diseases must be in Africa and foreign organizations. Cancer, upper respiratory tract disease, heart problems and diabetes account for 60 percent of all deaths worldwide. However, only 1% of all aid to developing countries is spent on health care for the treatment of noncommunicable diseases.
Poor states must also take measures against pollution and tobacco products. African governments should co-oppose cigar makers and other promoters of unhealthy lifestyles.