In Africa, epidemics are associated with outbreaks like cholera and measles or HIV and tuberculosis. Mental health would possibly be the last item on anyone’s list of big health challenges.
But mental disorders, like depression, are a leading cause of mental and physical disability in sub-Saharan Africa.
There are other reasons that depression shouldn’t be ignored. The main one is that it’s known to worsen the treatment and management of HIV, TB, hypertension and diabetes.
Research shows that about 30% of people living with HIV are diagnosed with depression. If left untreated there’s likely to be an increase in people developing opportunistic infections which in turn complicates HIV. This leads to longer hospital stays, more expensive treatment and sometimes death.