Yalie Pooja Yerramilli interviews Sandhya Singh – Director of Disease, Disability, and Geriatrics within South Africa’s Department of Health.

South Africa’s quadruple burden of disease

This week, Pooja Yerramilli returns to explore NCDs and the quadruple burden as barriers to economic and social development with Sandhya Singh – Director of Disease, Disability, and Geriatrics within South Africa’s Department of Health.

Three years ago, I found myself on a bus in South Africa, with fifteen of my college classmates. We were on our way to Kruger National Park, after a week of volunteering and researching in Cape Town. As I stared out the window, appreciating rural South Africa’s beauty, a large billboard, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, caught my attention. “Relay for Life: A Fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.” This poster piqued my curiosity. I had always associated South Africa with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. In fact, I had documented a handful of posters in Cape Town that aimed to combat HIV/AIDS by reducing stigma and encouraging testing. Why, then, when the country was clearly facing an HIV/AIDS epidemic, would locals bother to fundraise for cancer research? Surely, they had more pressing public health challenges to deal with.

http://blogs.plos.org/globalhealth/2015/03/southafrica_quadrupleburden/