Call for papers: Non-Communicable Disease in Africa and the Global South

Health Education & Behavior (HE&B) seeks to publish a special issue of the journal focused on global health promotion science, policy and practice that addresses non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa, with potential implications for other regions in the global south. The goal of the special issue is to draw attention of transdisciplinary researchers and practitioners engaged in health promotion research to the increasing NCD burden in the African region. 

Background on NCDs in Africa

[Text Box: A Journal of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) Society for Public Health Education 10 G Street, NE, Suite 605 • Washington, DC 20002 Phone: (202) 408-9804 • Fax: (202) 408-9815] The most common causes of mortality in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), including all African countries, are non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancer, and injuries.  In the 46 countries of WHO's Africa region (AFRO), NCDs are expected to account for 46% of deaths by 2030, up from 25% in 2004.  Of these CVD is one of the fastest growing causes of morbidity and mortality in Africa, driven primarily by the substantial burden from hypertension, particularly in urban areas, and a high mortality from stroke.  Recent data suggest that the age-standardized mortality, case fatality and prevalence of disabling stroke in Africa may be similar to or higher than observed in most western countries.  By World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, more than 30 million people in Africa have hypertension, and 75% of all deaths in Africa may be attributable to hypertension by the year 2020.  Disability due to stroke deaths that is attributable to hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 2.6 million DALYs.  Hypertension is also the strongest risk factor for heart attacks in black Africans (OR ~ 7), heart failure and end stage renal disease.  Similarly, increasing trends in the burden of diabetes-related mortality have been reported, now accounting for 6% of deaths in adults.  Estimates of direct health care costs of diabetes in Africa range from 2.5% p to 15.0% of the annual health care budgets, and it is estimated, for example, that the scant resources in Ghana and other Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries would be depleted by the disability from cardiovascular-related complications in the next decade if this epidemic is unabated.  Tobacco use also is a major risk factor for NCDs.  The WHO is increasing its attention to tobacco control in Africa, particularly to strengthen countries' ability to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the international health treaty that guides national efforts to counter the tobacco epidemic, and the establishment of a regional center of excellence to support the development of countries' capacity to resist the spread of tobacco use.

The rising epidemic in NCDs in Africa is occurring in the context of three very important factors.  First, African countries still have a significant burden of infectious diseases, making the epidemic of NCDs particularly draining on the health care system.  Second, Africa’s health care system is not sufficiently robust, with almost all African countries spending less than 6% of their budgets on health care.  Finally, there is a drastic shortage of health care workers in Africa despite the disproportionately higher burden of NCDs than in other continents.  To date, very few publications have focused on the powerful interplay of these three factors and potential solutions to address these issues.

On a broader scale, this supplement will help achieve the DHHS Global Health Strategy by advancing understanding of public health researchers, policymakers, and practitioners about the transdisciplinary “team science” approach to address the global burden of NCDs.  The supplement also will advance CDC’s efforts to strengthen health systems globally through improved public health leadership and management by providing a peer-reviewed compendium that can be used to upgrade managers’ skills and competencies, improve program operations, and promote and inform changes in policy and systems.  Finally, it will also serve to strengthen the evidence base for global leadership and management sciences and their application to public health improvement.

Supplement topics will focus on Africa and other poor resource regions as they relate to NCDs such as:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Illness Decisions
  • Culture and health
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrition/dietary practices
  • Health literacy, numeracy
  • Hypertension
  • Injuries
  • Mental Health
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Spirituality and health
  • Social marketing/health communication
  • Stroke
  • Tobacco
  • Training and workforce development
  • Uses of technology

Submission of manuscripts that address multiple chronic diseases, health and/or behavioral outcomes, is encouraged.

Co-Guest Editors

The following individuals have been selected by Dr. John Allegrante, Editor-in-Chief of HE&B, as Co-Guest Editors of the special supplement. 

  • Collins Airhihenbuwa, PhD, MPH, Department Professor and Chair of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University.  Dr. Airhihenbuwa is a current member of the HE&B Editorial Board, a SOPHE Distinguished Fellow, and Past SOPHE President.
  • Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH, MS, Professor of Population Health and Medicine, Director of the Division of Health and Behavior, and Director of the NYU Center for Healthful Behavior Change, New York University School of Medicine.

Submission Requirements 

All manuscripts should be submitted online at the HE&B submission portal. The site contains detailed instructions on how to submit and track the progression of a manuscript through the review process. To be considered for inclusion in this series, manuscripts must be submitted by January 15, 2015. Earlier submissions are encouraged.  Please select manuscript type “NCD Africa”.  All papers will undergo standard peer review by the HE&B editors, guest editors, guest editorial board, and peer referees, as defined by HE&B policy. The HE&B Web site provides detailed instructions for authors.

Questions can be directed to Editorial Manager Deborah Gordon-Messer,

Anticipated Publication

The supplement is expected to be published in February 2016.  

About the Journal

Through its publications, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) explores social and behavioral change as they affect health status and quality of life. Health Education & Behavior also examines the processes of planning, implementing, managing, and assessing health education and social-behavioral interventions. The journal provides empirical research, case studies, program evaluations, literature reviews, and discussions of theories of health behavior and health status, as well as strategies to improve social and behavioral health. SOPHE publications are essential resources for behavioral scientists, community organizers, government agencies, health care educators, health care facilities hospital administrators, insurance company administrators, nurses, physicians, public health and community planners, social scientists, and social workers. SOPHE publishes journals that are disseminated to more than 2000 SOPHE members, more than 600 institutions and libraries, and also enjoy widespread exposure through consortia arrangements.  Average circulation and readership in 2013 was 9,925. Through its publisher SAGE Publications, SOPHE also participates in Research4Life, which provides developing countries access to a wide range of journals.

HE&B Impact Factor:  1.825

5-Year Impact Factor: 2.507

Ranked: 45 out of 136 in Public, Environmental & Occupational Health

Source: 2014 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2014)


The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a 501 (c)(3) professional organization founded in 1950. SOPHE’s mission is “to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and contribute to the health of all people and the elimination of health disparities through advances in health education theory and research; excellence in professional preparation and practice; and advocacy for public policies conducive to health.” SOPHE is the only independent professional organization devoted exclusively to health education and health promotion. Collectively, SOPHE’s 4,000 international and chapter members’ work in universities, medical/health care settings, businesses, voluntary health agencies, international organizations, and all branches of government. 

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One thought on “Call for papers: Non-Communicable Disease in Africa and the Global South

  1. Greetings – I have just written a paper on DISTRICT MENTAL HEALTH service in KZN. I will be doing a talk on the subject in Johannesburg at the end of this month.
    Is this a subject that 2015 congress would be interested in?
    Best wishes, Lennart Eriksson, Psychiatrist, Scottburgh, KZN
    082 905 1006

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