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Understanding and acting on the developmental origins of health and disease in Africa would improve health across generations

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Shane A. Norris, Abdallah Daar, Dorairajan Balasubramanian, Peter Byass, Elizabeth Kimani-Murage, Andrew Macnab, Christoff Pauw, Atul Singhal, Chittaranjan Yajnik, James Akazili, Naomi Levitt, Jihene Maatoug, Nolwazi Mkhwanazi, Sophie E. Moore, Moffat Nyirenda, Juliet R.C. Pulliam, Tamsen Rochat, Rihlat Said-Mohamed, Soraya Seedat, Eugene Sobngwi & 3 more Mark Tomlinson, Elona Toska, Cari van Schalkwyk

Original languageEnglish
Article number1334985
JournalGlobal Health Action
Volume10
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jul 2017
DOIs
Accepted/In press10 Mar 2017
E-pub ahead of print18 Jul 2017

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Abstract

Data from many high- and low- or middle-income countries have linked exposures during key developmental periods (in particular pregnancy and infancy) to later health and disease. Africa faces substantial challenges with persisting infectious disease and now burgeoning non-communicable disease.This paper opens the debate to the value of strengthening the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) research focus in Africa to tackle critical public health challenges across the life-course. We argue that the application of DOHaD science in Africa to advance life-course prevention programmes can aid the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and assist in improving health across generations. To increase DOHaD research and its application in Africa, we need to mobilise multisectoral partners, utilise existing data and expertise on the continent, and foster a new generation of young African scientists engrossed in DOHaD.

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