WCPT Africa Region Conference System, 9th WCPT Africa Region Congress

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THE BURDEN OF EPIDEMIOLOGICAL TRANSITION IN AFRICA: IMPLICATION FOR AFRICA PHYSIOTHERAPISTS
Adegoke Moyinoluwa Akinfeleye

Last modified: 2012-02-07

Abstract


The Africa region has been challenged with poverty, malnutrition, high infant and maternal mortality. The scourge  of HIV/AIDs, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases have posed a huge burden not only  on the health of the people but also  on the socioeconomic situation of the region. Whereas, attempts are made by these developing nations to put these diseases under control, there arise the emerging epidemics of chronic non communicable diseases, which are fast becoming the dominant public health issues so much so that the UN met in September, 2011 to discuss strategies to combat the rising epidemics.

Ecological and lifestyle changes resulting from industrialisation and urbanisation have increased the risk and prevalence of heart diseases, stroke, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, occupational diseases, mental health, and musculoskeletal diseases. The attempts to improve quality of life and life expectancy have also brought to the fore diseases associated with aging.

This transition in health poses a double burden on the region which is already challenged with scarce resources. In previous epidemics, Africa countries have been caught unawares. Now opportunities arise to strategise in controlling this emerging epidemics of NCDs, unfortunately, most of the nations are yet to adopt evidence informed policy to stem the emerging pandemic.

Physiotherapy as a profession offers enormous benefits which are evidence-based and cost effective in combating these diseases of civilisation.

This paper highlights the role of physiotherapy at the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention level. Draws the differences between health education and promotion as strategies in the control of the disease and relieving attendant health and economic burdens. It also prevents measures that will challenge Africa physiotherapists to take proactive measures in policy making that will pave ways to demonstrate their roles in the control of these diseases.

 


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