call to action:

RURAL HEALTH

#KnowYourNumbers

Seeking Solutions: Addressing the Tough Realities of Underserved Rural Communities

In disadvantaged communities, systemic barriers often restrict access to resources, compounding existing challenges. Healthcare access presents a significant issue, leading to disparities in health outcomes. A primary contributing factor is the lack of financial or physical resources necessary for comprehensive healthcare. Additionally, cultural traditions may discourage seeking modern medical care, exacerbating the situation. Furthermore, healthcare professionals may be reluctant to work in rural regions, compounding the issue. Limited access to information and education further obstructs understanding of the importance of preventive care.
Addressing these challenges can establish a more equitable healthcare system, ensuring quality care for all individuals regardless of socioeconomic status. This will enhance health outcomes in disadvantaged communities and mitigate existing disparities in healthcare access. Ultimately, investing in these efforts is essential for cultivating a more just and inclusive community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. #KnowYourNumbers

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Empowering Self-Monitoring for Enhanced Healthcare Access and Optimal Health Outcomes

One of the key barriers to accessing healthcare is the lack of proper self-monitoring among individuals. Essentially, people may face difficulties in maintaining awareness of their own health conditions, symptoms, or vital signs. The lack of proper self-monitoring can impede individuals from recognizing the need for medical attention or preventive measures, ultimately creating a barrier to timely and effective healthcare access.

Our Approach

Heart First Aid Africa’s approach to health education has positively impacted rural communities in the following ways:

 

  1. Traveling to remote areas to provide on-site education on disease prevention, proper health monitoring, and health promotion.This direct outreach ensures vital knowledge reaches underserved populations.

 

  1. Fostering a culture of self-monitoring and proactive healthcare by emphasizing the importance of regularly assessing one’s health status This empowers individuals to detect potential issues early and seek timely care.

 

  1. Establishing partnerships with local authorities to deeply understand the unique challenges faced by rural communities. This tailored approach ensures education efforts effectively address our specific needs.

 

  1. Aligning our initiatives with the American Heart Association’s Call to Action on Rural Health, which aims to increase access to care, improve quality, and reduce risk factors in rural areas.This synergy amplifies the impact on rural-urban health disparities.

 

  1. Providing education on crucial skills like reading food labels, recognizing heart attack symptoms, and adopting heart-healthy dietary habits. These practical lessons enable rural residents to make informed choices and respond appropriately to emergencies.

 

  1. Improving confidence levels among participants in areas such as cooking heart-healthy meals and understanding nutrition labels. This increased self-efficacy promotes sustained positive behavior changes.

 

By prioritizing on-site education, community partnerships, and practical skill-building, Heart First Aid Africa’s approach has equipped rural communities with the knowledge and tools to take charge of their health, ultimately contributing to improved health outcomes and reduced disease burden in these underserved areas.

 

FACTS: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)

  • CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally, accounting for 31% of all global deaths1.(Heart.org)
  • CVDs are the largest contributor to the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) burden in Africa, accounting for 38.3% of NCD deaths and 22.9 million disability-adjusted life years  (frontiersin.org)
  • Africa has one of the highest risks of dying from NCDs worldwide, and has registered close to a 50% increase in the CVDs burden within the last three decades (heart.org)
  • CVDs are the leading cause of death among non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa, accounting for 38.3% of NCD deaths and 22.9 million disability-adjusted life years (openaccessgovernment.org)
  • CVDs affect mostly young and productive people in Africa, resulting in loss of income, increased poverty, and reduced quality of life(openaccessgovernment.org)

FACTS: Asthma

  • 300 million individuals worldwide are currently affected by asthma.

  • According to estimates made by health professionals, this figure might rise by an extra 100 million people by 2025.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that asthma causes approximately 250 000 fatalities annually, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. As with many other chronic diseases in Africa, rapid urbanization has been linked to the rise of asthma and other allergic diseases.
  • By 2015, the world’s urban population is predicted to rise from 45% to 59%, with Africa accounting for more than half of this growth.
  • The International Study of Asthma and Allergies (ISAAC) found that the prevalence of asthma among young people in Africa was rising and that asthma’s effects on quality of life contributed the most to the disease burden. 

Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

FACTS: Stroke

  • Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally, and 87 percent of stroke-related fatalities occur in developing countries.
  • The frequency and incidence of stroke in sub-Saharan Africa remain unclear due to bias in the majority of research.
  • Compared to industrialized nations, sub-Saharan nations have a higher death rate, a younger average age of onset, and hypertension as the primary risk factor for stroke.
  • In developing nations, the distribution of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes appears to be the same as in developed nations.
  • Without effective public health measures, sub-Saharan Africa will certainly see an epidemic of non-communicable illnesses in the next few years, with stroke becoming the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality.

Source: [Stroke in sub-Saharan Africa]-Abstract-Europe PMC

FACTS: Diabetes

  • A total of 1.5 million fatalities were directly related to diabetes in 2019, and 48% of these deaths occurred in those under the age of 70.
  • Diabetes contributed to an additional 460 000 renal disease deaths.
  • High blood glucose is responsible for 20% of cardiovascular fatalities.
  • From 2000 to 2019, the age-standardized death rate due to diabetes increased by 3%. In lower-middle income nations, diabetes-related mortality increased by 13%.
  • Diabetes is a serious, chronic and costly disease that affects millions of people in Africa and is estimated to rise to 23.9 million cases by 20301.(files.aho.afro.who.int)
  • The main types of diabetes in Africa are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes2. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops the body from making insulin. Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to use insulin effectively. Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy and affects both the mother and the baby. (files.aho.afro.who.int)

Source: (who.int)

Diabetes affects  3 in 4 adults  in low- and middle-income nations. It is estimated that 1 in 2 (240 million) individuals with diabetes go undiagnosed.

Source: (idf.org)

A life full of zest and energy can be led by prioritizing proper health assessment as an integral part of one's daily routine.

Heart First Aid Africa believes that self-monitoring in health promotion and disease prevention is crucial. This fact cannot be overstated.

In today’s world, where the prevalence of chronic diseases is increasing, a proactive, rather than a reactive approach to health care should be encouraged. Potential health issues can be detected early, and appropriate steps can be taken to prevent them from worsening by being vigilant and keeping a close eye on one’s health status. This not only reduces the burden on the healthcare system but also minimizes the financial and personal costs associated with treating chronic illnesses. #KnowYourNumbers