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Epidemiological transition and the double burden of disease in Accra, Ghana.

Agyei-Mensah, Samuel and De-Graft Aikins, Ama (2010) Epidemiological transition and the double burden of disease in Accra, Ghana. Journal of Urban Health, 87 (5). pp. 879-897. ISSN 1099-3460

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11524-010-9492-y


It has long been recognized that as societies modernize, they experience significant changes in their patterns of health and disease. Despite rapid modernization across the globe, there are relatively few detailed case studies of changes in health and disease within specific countries especially for sub-Saharan African countries. This paper presents evidence to illustrate the nature and speed of the epidemiological transition in Accra, Ghana’s capital city. As the most urbanized and modernized Ghanaian city, and as the national center of multidisciplinary research since becoming state capital in 1877, Accra constitutes an important case study for understanding the epidemiological transition in African cities. We review multidisciplinary research on culture, development, health, and disease in Accra since the late nineteenth century, as well as relevant work onGhana’s socio-economic and demographic changes and burden of chronic disease. Our review indicates that the epidemiological transition in Accra reflects a protracted polarized model. A “protracted” double burden of infectious and chronic disease constitutes major causes of morbidity and mortality. This double burden is polarized across social class.While wealthy communities experience higher risk of chronic diseases, poor communities experience higher risk of infectious diseases and a double burden of infectious and chronic diseases. Urbanization, urban poverty and globalization are key factors in the transition.We explore the structures and processes of these factors and consider the implications for the epidemiological transition in other African cities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The New York Academy of Medicine
Divisions: LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I12 - Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Suicide, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2013 16:54
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2024 18:54

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