Experts in the health sector have advised Nigerians to practice preventive measures in order to reduce the prevalence of diabetes, as a total population of 11.2 million are currently living with the disease in Nigeria.
This was disclosed during the launch of a project between Novo Nordisk and the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja.
Speaking on the challenges of diabetes care in Nigeria, a consultant endocrinologist University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Prof Sunny Chinenye, stated that lack of political will, health system issues, access to diabetes care, barriers to diabetes care, social determinants of health and medical issues are leading issues affecting diabetes patients in the country.
Chinenye explained that diabetes is a common cause of sudden death, amputations, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and blindness in Nigeria.
He said, “Given the rapid escalation of the diabetes epidemic in Nigeria, all levels of prevention and control (primary, secondary and tertiary) are needed to be put into action simultaneously in order to achieve universal health coverage.
“In accordance with the philosophy behind the i-CARE INITIATIVE we should aim at informing, canvassing, educating, advocating and generally making a case for prioritization of better care for Nigerians living with Diabetes mellitus.”
Also in her, paper presentation, president, Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Endocrinologist in Nigeria, Prof Abiola Oduwole, stated that there need to work together to provide an acceptable environment for the child living with diabetes to have a normal life at home, in school, community, reaching his/her life potential.
Oduwole disclosed that their organisation is spreading in all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
According to consultant endocrinologist University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Prof Felicia Anumah, more than one in 10 people live with diabetes but they do not know, adding that people living with the disease need financial support.
The consultant endocrinologist, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Prof Babatope Kolawale, said there are more children living with diabetes in Nigeria.
He said there is a need to support children to make sure that they keep managing their condition properly.
Ayola Topekon from the department of Federal Ministry of Health, said that there is need to ensure awareness creation about diabetes and also strengthen diabetic primary health care.
“We must also have a structure starting from the lower to the upper levels that is from state to the federal level for non-communicable disease.
Business Unit Head, English West Africa, Novo Nordisk, said that they trained the diabetes patients because if one is living with diabetes and one does not know how to go about it is a dead sentence and it can give more problems.
“We are targeting in the next three to six years we will have centres across Nigeria,” he said.