A large new study led by the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (the Pop Center) aims to shed light on how people in Sub-Saharan Africa are faring as they age, given that both infectious and noninfectious diseases are becoming increasingly chronic, with people surviving longer but having to cope with long-lasting ailments. The study will paint a broad picture of aging, health, productivity, and well-being among thousands of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We know very little about chronic disease and aging in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said principal investigator Lisa Berkman, director of the Pop Center and Thomas Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). “We assume that people have infectious diseases, but in fact the world has shifted enormously. Now people are living with chronic conditions, either infectious or not, in a way we don’t understand very well. We want to characterize and understand the conditions people are dealing with, and understand what both the determinants and consequences of living with those conditions might be.”

The three-year HAALSI Program Project—Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal Studies of INDEPTH communities—is being funded by a $3 million grant from the National Institute on Aging.

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