Changing landscape of public health and medical education curriculum

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Ghana Medical Journal


The landscape of public health in many sub-Saharan African countries has been changing rapidly over the past few decades. Marked changes have been seen in the demographic structure of populations, economics, lifestyle changes, social upheavals (war and migration) and these have impacted disease patterns. The population structure indicates that the workforce age band is showing a bulge and life expectancy is ris-ing with an increasingly elderly population. The eco-nomic status of many of these sub-Saharan countries are said to be improving with changes in status from low income to low middle income status. Newer health technologies have influenced the diagnos-ing, assessment and treatment of health problems. Pub-lic health challenges are transitioning from communica-ble diseases to non-communicable diseases, with no discernible reduction in infections, such that sub-Saharan African countries are said to be suffering from the double burden of disease. This change has risen to such levels that non-communicable diseases are rapidly becoming major causes of morbidity and mortality. While some communicable diseases remain endemic, several strategies exist for minimising their health ef-fects. Outbreaks of new and emerging infections have exposed the inadequacies of the health systems, such as occurred with the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa.


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Ebola virus disease, Dundee Ready Education Environ-ment Measure (DREEM), non-communicable diseases, sub-Saharan African countries