The health situation of older people in Africa
The older population in Africa is likely to grow substantially over the next few decades, which raises serious health concerns as many chronic illnesses including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases increase with age. Africa is also facing a major AIDS pandemic. The cumulative burden of communicable and chronic diseases is thus challenging many African health systems. Despite this, there is a dearth of adequate data on the rates of chronic illness and the situation of the elderly in Africa. This paper profiles the health situation of the older population in Africa, focusing on the prevalence and nature of illnesses in selected African countries, as well as the factors influencing the health of the older population. The chapter provides an overview of the leading causes of death among the older population. It is hoped that a greater understanding of the health situation of Africa’s older population can help guide policy to respond effectively to population ageing.