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WDD: 5m Nigerians adults have Diabetes

Dr. Osagie Ehanire Minister of State for Health
Dr. Osagie Ehanire
Minister of State for Health

By Deo Akinbo

As Nigeria prepares to join the rest of the world tomorrow to mark the 2015 World Diabetes Day (WDD), the Ministry of Health has disclosed that no fewer than 5 million Nigerian adults have diabetes and less than 50 per cent of these patients are aware of their condition.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, made this known earlier today in Abuja at a ministerial press briefing to celebrate the day in Nigeria.

According to the minister who was represented by the  Director of Public Health, Dr. Bridget  Okoeguale, the 2015 WDD celebration gives Nigeria the opportunity for  diabetes advocacy and awareness creation among Nigerians especially among the rural communities where the awareness is very low.

He said that the type 2 diabetes which constitutes about 96% of the common cases is common in Nigeria and in most parts of the world, adding that it can be prevented and controlled by avoiding risky behaviours and unhealthy lifestyle.

Diabetes is a major non-communicable disease that affects the highly productive population, the minister said, adding that it is expensive to manage, aggravates poverty and social inequalities, thereby contributing to the socio-economic burden of the country.

‘’ Diabetes,  if discovered late or poorly managed can lead to complications such as diabetic gangrene, which could lead to  amputation of part of the lower limb , chronic renal failure, hypertension, visual impairment or blindness and multiple organ damage associated with atherosclerosis. “

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF),  the global burden of the disease is estimated at 382 million with a projected figure of 592 million by 2035 while 80% of this increase is expected to occur in low and middle incomes countries including Nigeria.

The minister further  said that government  has  launched  the ‘’Stop Diabetes Initiative Nigeria’’ as part of the activities to mark the WDD due to the increasing burden caused by diabetes.

‘’This initiative creates a platform for active involvement of stakeholders from different sectors to support the implementation of the national strategy for the prevention and control of diabetes in Nigeria, which is in line with the WHO Global Action Plan for the prevention and control of diabetes 2013-2020.’’

According to Professor Felicia Anumah, Consultant Endocrinologist at University of Abuja Specialist Hospital, in a presentation at the event, one person dies from diabetes every 6 seconds worldwide. She described the disease as a silent killer because of  the nature of its symptoms especially with type 2 diabetes, which is why she said,  it is necessary for people to go for check-ups

She disclosed that millions are at the risk of diabetes and they need to be empowered to prevent having the disease adding that it is a long-life condition.

Anumah  who said that Nigerians love convenient  foods instead of eating vegetables and fruits further said that the risk factors for diabetes include- when persons are older than 30- 35 years, over weight and obesity occurs in the family and  if one is of African, Asian or Caribbean origin.

Others are those who have had pregnancy-induced diabetes and mothers who have had babies weighing over 4 kg at birth, or multiple pregnancies, smokers, alcohol, hypertension, lip disorders, history of diabetes and polycystic ovary among others.

The WDD is marked every  14th November and the theme for 2014-2016 is ‘’Healthy Living and Diabetes’’.

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