Diabetes epidemic looms in Nigeria – Health Minister
… NMA says over 2m people are diabetic in the country
ABUJA: Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole yesterday decried the growing rate of diabetes in the country, saying the disease was becoming an epidemic.
He particularly expressed fear over the rate of undiagnosed diabetes in adolescent and young adults in the nation.
Quoting figures provided by the International Diabetes Federation, Adewole said national prevalence of diabetes in adults between 20 a 79 years in the country was 1.9 percent in 2015. He expressed concern about the number of cases of undiagnosed diabetes in adults, which he said was estimated at 950 per thousand.
Adewole who was speaking at an event to mark the 2016 World Health Day in Abuja said the Federal Government had developed six plans of action to deal with the disease. The plans are adoption of the global monitoring framework for non-communicable diseases; development of a national diabetes plan and policy; increased monitoring and surveillance systems; management and rights; improved access to care; and sustainable financing for management of diabetes.
He said the Federal Government had designated some health facilities for free screening for the disease.
Meanwhile, as stakeholders lament the dearth of relevant statistics on diabetes in Nigeria and the African continent as a whole, the Nigerian Medical association (NMA) has released some statistics on the status of the disease in the country.
In a statement to mark the 2016 World health Day, the association revealed that no fewer than two million Nigerians are diabetic.
The statement, signed by its President and General-Secretary, Kayode Obembe and Adewunmi Alayaki respectively also disclosed that over 40,000 Nigerians died from the disease last year. The association blamed the deaths on poverty and weak health system in the country.
According to the group, about one million citizens of the nation have diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed and treated, while another estimated 3.85 million people in the country live with impaired glucose tolerance – a pre-diabetic condition.
NMA said despite forewarning by epidemiologists of the ‘epidemic’ of non-communicable diseases of which diabetes and obesity are front runners, including the flag-off of a nationwide campaign for healthy living and periodic medical check-ups in 2013 by the NMA, not much had been done to chart a national response to halt the rise of the ailment.
It urged government to declare “a national consciousness day for health awareness and medical check-ups in which the ideals of healthy living including consumption of healthy diets, regular physical exercises, good environmental sanitation and personal hygiene practices, campaign for drug abuse, etc, would be re-enforced in the polity.”