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Geriatric medicine: services and training in Africa.

Dotchin, Catherine Louise; Akinyemi, Rufus Olusola; Gray, William Keith; Walker, Richard W.
Age Ageing; 42(1): 124-8, 2013 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | 2013 | ID: mdl-23027519
Resumo: BACKGROUND: the population is ageing globally and developing countries are experiencing the most rapid increase in the number of older persons. By 2045 the United Nations estimate that for the first time in history more people will be over 65, than under 15, years of age. The World Health Organization predicts that deaths from non-communicable diseases will rise by 24% in Africa in the next decade. The aim of this survey was to determine the specialist medical services available for older persons and the undergraduate and postgraduate training systems in place for geriatrics in each African country. METHODS: a short survey was developed and sent to representatives from every country. Where appropriate, French and Portuguese translations were available. RESULTS: responses were received from 40/54 countries (74%). Data were obtained via an internet search for a further three countries. Out of 43, 25 countries had no geriatricians. Out of 40, 35 countries had no formal undergraduate training for medical students on geriatrics and 33 of 40 countries reported no national postgraduate training scheme for geriatrics. Having at least one geriatrician in the country was associated with a World Bank upper middle-income status (P = 0.04), but there was no significant association with the population size (P = 0.395). CONCLUSION: despite increasing numbers of older people and the increasing burden of chronic disease there are few geriatricians in Africa. Without undergraduate training, even general medical physicians will have limited knowledge of specialist geriatric needs. This is an area that will require development and investment in the future.