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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-17

Synchronizing policy, practice, and partnership efforts: Improving knowledge and care of noncommunicable diseases in West Africa

1 Department of Health Promotion Education, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
2 Department of Family Science and Social Work, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA
3 Department of Math, Physics, and Computer Science, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College, Ohio, USA

Correspondence Address:
Roseline Jindori Yunusa Vakkai
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jncd.jncd_6_17

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Background: The epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as type II diabetes and high blood pressure has crept upon an unsuspecting public health community in Africa. The four major problem areas contributing to this epidemic are: (1) lack of enough resources for health care, (2) few medical facilities and personnel to care for a large number of the population, (3) the inability of public health professionals to address or unravel complex causal nets of risk factors that reflect the culture and history of countries, communities, families, and individuals, and (4) medical care curriculum in the region is not tuned to the reality of the people it serves. There is the need to develop educational partnership teams between health experts and local citizens. Methods: This team-based community participatory approach effort will involve tapping into the local reservoir of knowledge by experts and Western medical knowledge by citizens; the resultant effect will aid policymaking and program development while also synthesizing the two. Results: Findings from several studies have shown that the solution to Africa's health-care struggle depends on synchronizing policy, practice, and partnership efforts through proper culturally tailored public health approaches, as well as the development of policies that ensures improving the general public's knowledge about NCDs and its prevention. Discussion and Conclusion: We suggested innovative ideas on areas of concern that will provide a unique opportunity for health educators to advocate for and improve the health literacy of laypersons. We call for the development of more regional research and disease control centers because research and evaluation efforts can guide education and service delivery methods. In addition, we call for appropriate training that provides opportunities for African health professionals to acquire knowledge on cutting-edge knowledge about prevention and treatment. We concluded that an accepted medical practice for Africans is one anchored on efforts whereby people feel like partners when it comes to the issue of their health. Simply put, “people's voices, people's input, and people faces. It is challenging to hold people accountable when they do not understand health care and have little information on how to prevent the onset or spread of diseases.

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