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The increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in low-middle income countries: the view from Malawi

Authors Gowshall M, Taylor-Robinson SD

Received 24 November 2017

Accepted for publication 20 March 2018

Published 28 June 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 255—264

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S157987

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Matthew Gowshall,1,2 Simon D Taylor-Robinson1

1Division of Digestive Health, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, UK; 2Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK

Abstract: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally, the majority of these being due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, or diabetes. Mortality from many NCDs continues to increase worldwide, with a disproportionately larger impact in low-middle income countries (LMIs), where almost 75% of global deaths occur from these causes. As a low-income African country that consistently ranks amongst the world’s poorest nations, Malawi as a case study demonstrates how transition due to societal change and increasing urbanization is often accompanied by a rise in the rate of NCDs. Other factors apart from changing lifestyle factors can explain at least some of this increase, such as the complex relationship between communicable and NCD and growing environmental, occupational, and cultural pressures. Malawi and other LMIs are struggling to manage the increasing challenge of NCDs, in addition to an already high communicable disease burden. However, health care policy implementation, specific health promotion campaigns, and further epidemiological research may be key to attenuating this impending health crisis, both in Malawi and elsewhere. This review aims to examine the effects of the major NCDs in Malawi to help inform future public health care policy in the region.

Keywords: cancer, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, non-communicable diseases, Malawi

Creative Commons License This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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