Background and Rationale

The emergence of a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases increasingly threatens the African region. By acting now, we can prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVD) from becoming the same burden in Africa that it is elsewhere around the globe. In fact, many regional and international actors are now multiplying their efforts to promote health in Africa.


Following an initial consultation with experts within Africa, and from around the world, the CDC/IUHPE Annual Seminars on Cardiovascular Health Promotion were developed to address this identified need to build capacity and increase knowledge. The course was designed to help establish strategies that contribute to preventing and controlling CVD in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. In addition, this unique initiative was intended to build in-country capacity and a locally-sustainable infrastructure for CVD and risk factor disease surveillance, and cardiovascular health promotion development.


About the course

Since 2004, the seminars have been held in both West and East Africa. Each year, four to five multi-disciplinary country teams were trained in Cardiovascular Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Epidemiology. The West African seminars were held in Ghana between 2004 and 2006 and included teams from Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria. The East African seminars were successively held in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda between 2007 and 2009, with representatives from all three countries attending every year.


The objective of the seminar series was to build and strengthen the capacity, knowledge and skills of trained country teams:

  • To address the increasing non-communicable disease (NCD) burden of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes using population-based health promotion programmes and policies;

  • To advocate for public health policies;

  • To promote healthy lifestyles; To create environments that support and facilitate improved disease prevention and the reduction of risk factors in respective countries.


The course was structured around five major areas:

  • General principles of:

    • Health promotion and chronic disease prevention in Africa;

    • Basic public health and epidemiology;

    • Surveillance for CVD and risk factors in the African context;

    • Evaluation plans and designs;

    • Project development (core principles and expectations);

  • Prevention of specific diseases and risky behaviours;

  • Partnerships;

  • Data collection and methods;

  • Communication, advocacy and social marketing.


At the end of the course, the trainees are expected to:

  • Understand the principles and practice of NCD surveillance;

  • Understand the principles of health promotion for NCD control;

  • Have acquired a comprehensive knowledge of the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in Africa;

  • Understand how to build/work with a multi-disciplinary team to achieve health promotion goals;

  • Be able to formulate a plan for CVD risk factor control;

  • Be able to train other health professionals.


As part of the seminar, each team developed their own health promotion and CVD prevention projects. After the seminar the trainees further developed, and implemented when possible, the team projects in their home countries.



Course Presentations

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