Non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: understanding the drivers of the epidemic to inform intervention strategies

Int Health. 2016 May;8(3):157-8. doi: 10.1093/inthealth/ihw021.


Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing a rapidly increasing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), while it continues to face longstanding challenges from infectious diseases. This double burden of disease could have a devastating impact on a continent that already has significant resource constraints, emphasizing the urgent need for appropriate interventions in the region. However, it is crucial to have a careful understanding of the local drivers of NCDs. This should not only include study of the traditional lifestyle risk factors, but also an examination of emerging risk factors (such as the influence of insults early in life or interactions with infection), which may be of particular importance in Africa.

Keywords: Burden; Cancer; Cardiovascular disease; Diabetes; Non-communicable disease; Sub-Saharan Africa.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Environment
  • Epidemics* / prevention & control
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Risk Factors