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The Impact of Infectious Diseases on the Development of Africa

  • A. Boutayeb

Abstract:

Despite the success of vaccination programs for polio and some childhood diseases, other diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, acute respiratory infections and diarrheal disease are causing high mortality rates in Africa. However, mortality figures give only a partial measure of the toll asked by infectious diseases, and the global burden includes also health impact measured by disabilities, deformities, loss of productivity, care and treatment caused by a multitude of diseases like lymphatic filariasis, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, sleeping sickness and others. The impact of infectious diseases can be traced according to economic performance of African countries, showing that 34 out of 53 countries are classified as low-income economies. The disease burden is, however, more devastating since it affects all components of human development, including income, health and education.

The impact of infectious diseases on African countries is no longer a crisis only for the healthcare sector, but presents a challenge to all sectors. It has the potential to reverse those gains made in human development in the last few years. Consequently, beyond health issues, these diseases should and must globally be seen as a development concern, affecting education and knowledge acquisition, income and social status, productivity and economic growth and other direct and indirect components of human development such as gender equality and human rights.

For health strategies to be successful, international solidarity and public-private partnerships are needed to tackle the problems of shortage and lack of treatments, resistance and the need for new drugs, vaccines and diagnostic procedures. However, the output of international initiatives will remain limited without the national and local implication.

Keywords

African Country Human Development Index Lymphatic Filariasis Sexually Transmitted Disease Human Development Report 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:

AIDS

Acquired Immune Defense System

CVD

Cardio Vascular Disease

DALY

Disability Adjusted Life Years

DNDi

The  Drug for Neglected Diseases Initiative

DOTS

 Directly Observed Therapy Strategy

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization

FIND

The  Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics

GAVI

 Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization

GDI

 Gender-related Development Index

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

GEM

 Gender Empowerment Measure

GFFATM

 Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

HDI

 Human Development Index

HHVI

The  Human Hookworm Vaccine initiative

HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HPI

Human Poverty Index

MDG

 Millennium Development Goals

MMV

The  Medicines for Malaria Ventures

ND

Neglected Disease

SARS

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

STD

Sexually Transmitted Disease

TB Alliance

The Global Alliance for Tuberculosis Drug Development

UNAIDS

United Nations AIDS

UNDP

United Nations Development Program

WHO

World Health Organization

YLD

Years Lived with Disability

YLL

Years of Life Lost

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Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Boutayeb

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