Diabetes control: Healthcare experts advocate mandatory sugar screening

Health experts have advocated mandatory blood sugar testing in hospitals and clinics for all patients despite illness in order to curb the increase in diabetes and ensure its management.

The health experts made the call at the 2021 World Diabetes Day (WDD) awareness campaign themed: “Access to diabetes care: if not now, when?” organised by ISN Medical at Gbagada General Hospital, Gbagada Lagos recently.

Speaking at the 2021 WDD commemoration event, Ify Chioke, General Manager Diabetes Care Unit ISN Medical said that management of diabetes would be made easier if the government and other stakeholders make testing of all patients for blood sugar mandatory, she said in a statement.

“We have noticed that 5 to 7 percent of those we have tested in recent times have come down with diabetes and many of them never knew they have high blood sugar, adding that in most cases, like we have experienced in a programme with Access Bank in Enugu, Abuja and Lagos where many recorded over 400 blood sugar reading,” she said.

According to her, ISN Medical has begun to work with the government, hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and laboratories by providing free testing kits to encourage compulsory testing of blood sugar in these health facilities.

She stated that “We are working with government and private hospitals and labs to make testing of blood sugar compulsory for every patient that comes in. We also have a programme running with pharmacies such that we provide them with free testing kits to empower them to test every single patient that comes into their facilities.”

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The Chief Medical Director of Gbagada General Hospital, Segun Babafemi who commended ISN Medical for leading the charge in creating awareness on Diabetes said that apart from free testing for blood sugar, he advocates for compulsory testing of blood sugar the same way blood pressure is being carried out in all health facilities across the country.

“I will very much advocate that any adult who comes into your hospital, labs, clinic or pharmacy should undergo a compulsory blood sugar test. Here in Gbagada General Hospital, we have made it mandatory for every adult to be tested before you are attended to, and this is done whether you complain about the symptoms or not,” he added.

Chioke who disclosed that ISN Medical had estimated to test over 500 people at the 2021 WDD event at Gbagada General Hospital, said that “We know from world record that about 5 to 7 percent of population is living with diabetes but the issue that we have in Nigeria is that a lot of people don’t test, and because they don’t their status adequate data is impossible.”

She encouraged Nigerians to embrace blood sugar testing saying that “people who have parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers who are living with diabetes also have a higher risk, those who do sedentary work like banking also have a tendency to come down with diabetes.

Ayo Oni, Director of Physiotherapy Services, Gbagada General Hospital who took fitness exercise at the event and spoke about the importance of physiotherapy in the management of diabetes stated that “Physiotherapy has a key role to play in the management of diabetes, prevention in terms of maintenance and also curative. There are various dimensions of managing diabetes, diet, physical activity such as exercise then the drugs and the importance of consultant can’t be overemphasized,” he said.