The Global Epidemiologic Transition
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Globally, there has been a shift in the causes of illness and death from infectious diseases to noncommunicable diseases. This changing pattern has been attributed to the effects of an (ongoing) epidemiologic transition. Although researchers have applied epidemiologic transition theory to questions of global health, there have been relatively few studies exploring its relevance especially in the context of emerging allergic disorders in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In this article, we address the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa through the lens of epidemiologic transition theory. After a brief review of the literature on the evolution of the epidemiologic transition with a particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa, we discuss existing frameworks designed to help inform our understanding of changing health trends in the developing world. We subsequently propose a framework that privileges "place" as a key construct informing our understanding. In so doing, we use the example of allergic disease, one of the fastest growing chronic conditions in most parts of the world.
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