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Current Research Projects

Interventions for Older People in Sub-Saharan Africa

Interventions for Older People in Sub-Saharan Africa image

Funded by - Economic and Social Research Council

Principle Investigator - Professor Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, School of International Development

Co-Investigators: Dr Nadia Minicuci, CNR-IN; Dr Sutapa Agrawal, CCDC; Dr Mary Amoako-Coleman, University of Ghana; Dr Xavier Gomez-Olivé and Ms Rhian Twine, University of Witwatersrand; Dr Isabella Aboderin, APHRC

International project partners: African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC); University of Ghana; University of Witwatersrand, South Africa; Centre for Chronic Disease Control, India (CCDC); Institute of Neuroscience of the National Research Council, Italy (CNR-IN)

In acknowledgement of the fact that hypertension is the leading cause of death and serious illness amongst older people in sub-Saharan Africa, and building on insights generated in a previous ESRC-funded study, this inter-disciplinary project (which spans social policy, gerontology, epidemiology and development studies) explores the effects of three different policies for older people (screening for chronic health conditions, providing basic pensions and extending health insurance coverage) in two quite different countries: Ghana and South Africa.

Using survey data that permit analysis over time, the impacts of these policies on different aspects of older people's health and well-being are assessed, with particular attention paid to chronic high blood pressure (hypertension) and depression, as these conditions are closely linked to older people's general health and quality of life.

In support of the development of more appropriate policy responses, the study:

  • Examines and seeks to explain changing patterns of hypertension among older people in Ghana and South Africa.
  • Assesses the impact of screening for hypertension in South Africa on older people's awareness, treatment and control of the condition.
  • Assesses the impact of Ghana's expanding national health insurance scheme on older people's health and wellbeing, including hypertension and depression.
  • Assesses the impact of South Africa's old age grant on the health and wellbeing of older people, with a particular focus on depression and risk of death.