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.