While care programs in South Africa focus mainly on infectious diseases such as malaria and AIDS, the country is hit by a silent epidemic of chronic diseases. This is certainly the case in Dikgale, a rural region in the province of Limpopo. Here, the prevalence of hypertension, high fasting blood glucose and obesity is 38%, 13% and 27% respectively, in the population of 15 years and over. The number of strokes in the region has also increased dramatically.
With the project 'Dikgale Chronic Diseases Intervention Project' (DIK CDIP), the UAntwerp, in collaboration with the University of Limpopo, wants to improve the care for chronic diseases in Dikgale. More specifically, we develop training programs on diabetes type 2 and hypertension for nurses, we improve the provision of medication in primary care clinics, focus on health promotion and look at how traditional healers and westernly educated healthcare providers can work better together. In addition, the local university supports shelters for disadvantaged children and the elderly affected by the double burden of infectious and chronic diseases.