Experts Want Health Insurance for Diabetes

With more Nigerians developing Diabetes Mellitus (DM), experts are asking government to introduce comprehensive health insurance coverage to support care of patients to meet international standards.

Clinical experts from across Africa and Europe who gathered at a one-day Sanofi Diabetes Summit 2018 which took place in Lagos have bemoaned the level of care of patients on the continent saying, “the care in many countries in Africa has not measured up to internationally acceptable and recommended standard,

With the theme: ‘Personalizing Diabetes Care’ the experts seek for a holistic review of patients care in a reformed dispensation.

Speaking to the theme in his keynote address, Professor of Endocrinology, Sam Dagogo Jack of the University of Tennesse Health Science Centre, Memphis, Tennese, attributed the rising profile of Diabetics mostly to obesity and overweight as well as emerging environmental risk factors.

According to Dagoo-Jack, a lot more people are physically inactive as they age while many are developing impaired glucose Tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG).

He listed emerging environmental risk factors influencing rising diabetes cases to include carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, urbanization, sleeplessness, Stress and depression, HIV/TB, High Blood Pressure, Antibiotics use among others.

Folake Odediran

The Consultant Endocrinologist advocates a holistic approach to management of patients with Diabetes to include Lifestyle change, physical activity, use of genuine drugs, avoiding use of unproven remedy among others.

Also speaking at the event, Professor of Diabetes and Metabolism, Alexandria University, Egypt, Abderahim Aly on ‘Basal Insulinisation: Why, What, When and How’ noted that insulin therapy must be started before glucose control has deteriorated, that insulin doses must be actively titrated to targets while insulin therapy can also be administered once daily.

Another expert on Medicine and Endocrinology, Faculty of Medicine and Biomediical Sciences, University of Yaounde, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya noted that since Type 2 Diabetes is a progressive disease which is fast taking over in many societies, efforts should really be targeted at stopping the worsening of its progression at the early stage.

According to Mbanya, a 2016 data collected from some African countries Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia in an International Diabetes Management Practice Study (IDMPS): tagged “wave 7 for Africa,” revealed that only few people living with diabetes are achieving treatment clinical goals in Africa.


He pointed out that living with and managing diabetes is distressing for people with diabetes as 45% of people with diabetes have emotional distress due to their diabetes while 14%  of people with the condition report having likely depression, said Mbanya.

He is of the opinion that so much should be done on population education especially at letting everyone be aware that unless stemmed, most patients with type 2 diabetes will die of cardiovascular disease hence need for glycemic control, high blood pressure and lipid control which he said has proven highly successful.

In her welcome remark, General Manager, RX and Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria, Ghana, Ms Folake Odediran, observed that diabetes remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.

She pointed out that though various stakeholders are making tremendous contributions in their respective spheres of influence to improve treatment outcomes but there still exists gaps in terms of policy direction, public awareness, advocacy, patient education, diagnosis, infrastructure and overall capacity of the healthcare system to effectively manage this disease.

According to her, Sanofi Diabetes Summit is a child of necessity, borne out of the need to support existing efforts at addressing these gaps.

“As leaders in diabetes care, Sanofi will continue to prioritize public-private partnerships and initiatives that support speedy attainment of universal health coverage for diabetes patients. The theme of this Summit is “Personalizing Diabetes Care”. This underscores our conviction that effective diabetes care must be patient-centered and must take input from all players”added Odediran.

In a communique issued at the end of the one-day summit, the experts recommended that the NHIS coverage should include diabetes screening, diagnosis, treatment and the management of complications often associated with the disease.

They also recommended adequate provision of essential drugs for Nigerians living with the disease.

The experts equally called for the provision of care on the Healthcare plan for the indigent, disadvantaged and vulnerable people living with diabetes.

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