Duncan Mara – Disease Priorities in Zambia

Disease Priorities in Zambia. Am Jnl Trop Med Hyg, July 2016.

Author: Duncan Mara. School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom. E-mail: d.d.mara@leeds.ac.uk

An excerpt: Neonatal disorders are very important. Deaths due to neonatal sepsis and other neonatal infections have been rising steadily from 2,121 in 2000 to 2,704 in 2013. This may reflect poor WASH, the difficulty of accessing even basic-level health-care facilities in rural areas, and/or rural mothers not recognizing early symptoms of these diseases. Poor WASH should be addressed, as it is known to adversely affect maternal, infant, and child mortality. There also needs to be improved rural health care and targeted health/hygiene education for mothers and mothers-to-be.

Diarrheal diseases caused significantly fewer deaths in 2013 than in 2000. This parallels the decrease in unsafe water, unsafe sanitation, and unsafe hand hygiene, which must be sustained. The most dramatic decrease, nearly 60%, was seen in the number of human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and tuberculosis deaths during 2010–2013. This truly excellent performance needs, of course, to continue.

As highlighted in this letter, an initial broad-brush approach using GBD Compare (or similar tools) is likely to produce good guidance on health priorities, especially in rural areas and periurban slums. Targeted detail can then follow.





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