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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 349312, 10 pages
Review Article

Management of Chronic Diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa: Cross-Fertilisation between HIV/AIDS and Diabetes Care

1Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
2Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Otterstraat 118-124, 3513 CR Utrecht, The Netherlands
3Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 16 April 2012; Accepted 16 October 2012

Academic Editor: Luis E. Cuevas

Copyright © 2012 Josefien van Olmen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is growing attention for chronic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and for bridges between the management of HIV/AIDS and other (noncommunicable) chronic diseases. This becomes more urgent with increasing numbers of people living with both HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions. This paper discusses the commonalities between chronic diseases by reviewing models of care, focusing on the two most dominant ones, diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) and HIV/AIDS. We argue that in order to cope with care for HIV patients and diabetes patients, health systems in SSA need to adopt new strategies taking into account essential elements of chronic disease care. We developed a “chronic dimension framework,” which analyses the “disease dimension,” the “health provider dimension,” the patient or “person dimension,” and the “environment dimension” of chronic diseases. Applying this framework to HIV/AIDS and DM2 shows that it is useful to think about management of both in tandem, comparing care delivery platforms and self-management strategies. A literature review on care delivery models for diabetes and HIV/AIDS in SSA revealed potential elements for cross-fertilisation: rapid scale-up approaches through the public health approach by simplification and decentralisation; community involvement, peer support, and self-management strategies; and strengthening health services.