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The 10 ‘Best Buys’ to combat heart disease, diabetes and stroke in Africa
  1. Bongani M Mayosi
  1. Correspondence to Professor B M Mayosi, Department of Medicine, J Floor Old Groote Schuur Hospital, Groote Schuur Drive Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa; bongani.mayosi{at}

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The Economist has branded Africa as ‘the world's fastest growing continent’.1 The economy in many African countries is growing at a rate that is higher than that of European countries. HIV infection is coming under control and life expectancy is increasing as a result of widespread use of antiretroviral therapy.2 The rising economic prosperity and improving health status has been associated with what can be described as a renaissance in cardiovascular medicine that is characterised by the revival of pan-African professional organisations, such as the Pan African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR) and the creation of the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa as its mouthpiece.3 Over the past decade, a number of African-led multinational research networks have been established to combat hypertension,4 rheumatic heart disease,5 pericardial disease6 and heart failure.7 Indeed, Africans have ushered in a new golden era in public health research with a sustained increase in the quantity and quality of publications from the African continent.8

These economic and scientific changes have been accompanied by important shifts in the epidemiology of circulatory disorders in Africa. In the present series of articles on recent advances in heart disease, diabetes and stroke, the authors highlight a complicated transition in circulatory disease that is characterised by a ‘double burden’ of communicable and non-communicable disorders.9–16 Circulatory diseases have increased from about 4% of all admissions to African hospitals in the 1950s to 20% in the 2000s.17 An analysis of the causes of heart failure shows the relentless rise of hypertension as the leading causal factor, the relatively small but increasing contribution of coronary artery disease, and the persistence of rheumatic heart disease, endomyocardial fibrosis and cardiomyopathy as major contributors to the …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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