Addressing non-communicable disease in Africa
5 January 2010
The University of Sydney's School of Public Health is working with Kenya's leading health authorities to build the country's capacity to respond to the growth of non-communicable diseases.
A non-communicable disease (NCD) is a disease that is not infectious. Such diseases usually result from lifestyle factors, such as smoking, a high fat diet and lack of exercise. The most common NCDs are high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.
Professors Robert Cumming and Simon Chapman and lecturer Joel Negin have been awarded seed funding through the University of Sydney's International Program Development Fund (IPDF) to partner with the University of Nairobi and the Kenyan Ministry for Health on a project to build the capacity of local health authorities to identify and address NCDs.
"So much of the emphasis in Africa has been in stopping the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis but what we have seen recently is an emergence of substantial numbers of deaths from non-communicable diseases," said Joel Negin.
"In fact, recent studies have shown that more than 50% of deaths in developing countries are from NCDs and although no solid data really exists for Africa we can safely say it is a growing problem largely due to modernisation, such as changes in diet, smoking and adopting a western lifestyle," said Professor Robert Cumming.
Cumming, Negin and Chapman will travel to Kenya in July to run a course in conjunction with Dr William Maina, who is Director of the NCD Division at Kenya's Ministry of Health and a University of Sydney alumni.
"This visit to Kenya in July 2010 will have three components - firstly, it will enable us to identify the NCD priorities. Secondly, we need to build capacity by improving understanding so that the Ministry of Health can better deliver services and finally, we will identify additional funding sources," said Cumming.
Contact: Michelle Wood
Phone: 02 9351 3191