Deepening diabetes care requires awareness, say experts

...as ignorance fuels prevalence

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As Nigeria battles to tackle the high number of people suffering from diabetics, health experts have linked the continuous rise of the disease to lack of awareness and ignorance of scourge in the country

The medical experts say the situation of diabetes in the country has worsened largely because of persistent delays in referral to appropriate centres where they can be properly managed.

According to International diabetes Federation (IDF), Nigeria is one of the 32 countries which has 425 million of its citizens with the ailment and research shows that about 5.5 percent of Nigerians are diabetic and about 4 million people are diagnosed with type 2 (Adult onset) diabetes

“Management of diabetes and its complications could be expensive; the burden could be greatly prevented through awareness and enlightenment of the public,” said Ojo Sikiru a Lagos based medical practitioner.

Sikiru also stated that the increase of the disease is also associated with lifestyle changes, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyles, dietary changes, alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking among others, while noting that millions of Nigerians are suffering from diabetes regardless the age.

“Regular check-up is very important as a step to preventing diabetes and if the disease is not well controlled the long term consequences may cause blindness, kidney failure and even limb amputation,” he said.

Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by the body’s inability to produce required amounts of insulin the hormone that regulates blood sugar.

According to health experts, there is type 1 and type 2diabetes and it accounts for first cause of blindness, dialysis, and non-traumatic amputation.

Diabetes is a Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) that is responsible for millions of deaths globally.

Sonny Kuku, president, Nigeria NCD Alliance said diabetes is one of the top leading non- communicable diseases affecting a lot of Nigerians.

“ to kick start the process of bringing these epidemics under some control, the country needs concerted effort properly planned to prevent disease by creating more awareness and making management of NCDs free,”

Kuku proffering solution on further ways to check the alarming increases said: “One of the ways is to integrate diabetes disease and other NCDs into PHCs and fund them and also provide personnel that will tell the people about diabetes.

“We also want to put pressure on the ministry to create special fund for the national health insurance scheme to fund NCDs and community based insurances which will be funded by budgeting especially local government funds,” he said.

 

ANTHONIA OBOKOH

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