Yes, let’s pay more attention to debilitating effects of Diabetes among Nigerians!
This is the strong message that members of the Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Group (DICOMAG) are sending to government and all stakeholders as Nigerians elect new Political leaders to steer the affairs of government for the next four years.
The call to pay more attention to diabetes is coming on the heels of the recent Diabetes Summit which was held in Lagos at the instance of Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Nigeria which saw Clinical experts from across Africa and Europe 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”.
Concerns have been expressed over the diagnosis, treatment and management of diabetics in the country; but more importantly, over political will of government to realise that the disease is rising to an epidemic level worth prioritizing to create budget line in the health ministry.
Hence members of DICOMAG are challenging President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, device concrete measures to address the burden of the disease in all parts of the country to prevent a looming epidemic .
In a statement signed by its Director of Communication, Yinka Shokunbi, DICOMAG says it has become necessary to draw the attention of the public, particularly the politicians, to the alarming increase of diabetes and its attending complications and deadly consequences in the country.
According to the organization, “no fewer than 5 million Nigerians are currently living with diabetes and like elsewhere in the world the number of cases is increasing very fast.
“Such that the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) states that one in every two people with diabetes in Nigeria is undiagnosed, which means the current estimated number of cases could be double or even more.
“This is one health disaster Nigeria cannot afford to face as we inaugurate a new government”, states DICOMAG.
Diabetes mellitus is described as one of the largest global health emergencies of the 21st century, largely because of its severe and deadly consequences. This is a disease that affects virtually all organs of the body, resulting in loss of vision, dental problem, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, lower limb amputation, sexual dysfunction, among others, when not properly controlled – sadly a situation faced by Nigerians living with diabetes today.
According to DICOMAG albeit “the rapid increase of diabetes cases is a global phenomenon, especially in the developing countries, the difference however, is that most countries are now working relentlessly to ensure it does not become a major epidemic but Nigeria seems to be sitting on the fence with no measure or policy to curtail the rapid spread”.
Citing the example of neighbouring countries like Cameroon which provides insulin free of charge to children while some others are adopting policies to assist citizens to achieve control of the condition, DICOMAG is worried thaT Nigeria seems to have left people living with diabetes to their fate and without any measure to ensure early detection of cases or inform the people on preventive measures.
“Virtually all the states have remained silent. Yet, the number of people living with diabetes or suffering from its consequences such as stroke, blindness, limb amputation, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease are, by far, more than the number of Nigerians affected by Lassa fever, cancer or Ebola which are not only dreaded but given priority attention” the statement reads.
Presently, Nigerians with diabetes only get to know of their status when at an advance stage of the disease and when complications have set in. Awareness about the disease remains at the lowest ebb in the country.
“DICOMAG therefore hereby calls on the governments both at the federal and state level and the general public not to ignore or underrate diabetes.
“The government, as a matter of urgency should introduce policies and measures needed to detect cases while state government, in particular must embark on immediate campaign for prevention and control of diabetes in Nigeria”, states DICOMAG.