oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - The state of public health : guest editorial



Public health is the process of mobilising local, state, national and international resources to ensure the conditions in which people can be healthy. It has impact on all levels of society in every country, whether rich or poor, eastern or western, big or small. Patterns of diseases can be influenced by and in turn influence human behaviour, socio-economic factors and health systems of a country. At one end of the spectrum, communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and malaria cause extensive disease and have significant public health implications, particularly in developing countries. On the other hand, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension are gradually becoming a silent killer not only in developed but also in developing countries. Countries like South Africa are now facing a quadruple burden of diseases which is crippling its already overstretched health system.


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