Hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma are the co-morbidities most commonly associated with COVID-19 patients, according to a preliminary WHO research of 14 African nations.
These chronic illnesses necessitate ongoing treatment, but health services for NCDs have been severely interrupted as governments deal with the ongoing pandemic.
Sixty-one percent of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in South Africa had hypertension, and 52 percent had diabetes, accounting for nearly half of all cases and deaths on the continent.
In addition, 45 percent of COVID-19-related deaths in adults aged 60–69 had hypertension. People with NCDs accounted for around half of COVID-19 deaths in Kenya, while they accounted for 85 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
NCDs were a significant health concern even before the current pandemic, affecting an increasing number of Africans. The number of people dying due to NCDs in Africa increased to 3.1 million in 2015, up from 2.4 million in 2010.
According to the report, in seven other nations, the bulk of which is Africa’s prominent ones, the diseases claimed between 100,000 and 450,000 deaths each year.
The WHO Non-communicable Disease Progress Monitor for 2022 found that chronic diseases are responsible for 50 to 88 percent of mortality in seven African countries.
Matshidiso Moeti said the rising burden of NCDs poses a major threat to the health and lives of millions of people in the world’s second-biggest continent. Between May and September 2021, almost 80% of African countries experienced disruptions to at least one non-communicable disease health service.
Over a third of deaths in the region are attributable to these illnesses, adding that “premature deaths from NCDs are on the rise among those younger than 70 years.
Countries are working to restore services, while several are still not fully functional.“Decision-making is needed to address the risk factors for these preventable diseases,” Moeti said.
The World Health Organization also attempts to raise public awareness about the substantial association between chronic diseases and COVID-19. Also, collaborating with nations to identify the barriers to providing vital services to people living with NCDs is assisting governments in putting in place initiatives to expand service availability.
In addition, which has assisted in the restoration of chronic disease screenings and has provided basic equipment for diabetes and hypertension care in seven Member States. Tobacco and alcohol use both raise the risk of NCDs.
In Africa, the number of diabetics is expected to rise to 47 million by 2045.
The rising prevalence of NCDs puts a strain on treatment and care services.
Hence WHO recommends limiting their usage in the future. It’s also critical to have good primary care and referral networks in place so that individuals can get the proper therapy at the right time.
The WHO official added an initiative to accelerate progress toward the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of reducing non-communicable disease mortality by 30% by 2030,” the WHO official added. The forum will also discuss methods to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage’s primary goals.