DCP3 Project Director and Series Editor Dr. Rachel Nugent was interviewed for a recent article in The Atlantic on cardiovascular disease in Africa. The piece, Africa's Top Health Challenge: Cardiovascular Disease, addresses the lack of donor resources being allocated to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension, despite the growing burden in low- and middle-income countries.
Author Helen Ouyang, an emergency physician, emphasizes that cardiovascular disease is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa in adults over 30 yet infectious diseases such as AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis receive “30 times more development assistance than all NCDs combined.”
Dr. Nugent provided insight as to why donors may be reluctant to commit resources to chronic diseases. “Without a doubt the perception of what causes and who gets chronic disease is a barrier to donor investment,” Nugent said. “Donors don’t say it, but I am quite convinced that in the backs of the minds of those in wealthier countries is that NCDs are for rich, fat white men. It’s not something poor children and adults get—but that’s wrong. That perception that it’s people’s own fault and that you can’t change behavior may seem believable, but that doesn’t accord with the facts.” Dr. Nugent is currently serving as an expert advisor to the World Health Organization's Global Coordinating Mechanism on external funding for NCDs.
High blood pressure affects nearly one in two Africans over the age of 25, which recent studies have shown may be partly caused by genetics, and not solely lifestyle choices. Read the full article on the Atlantic’s website.