As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2021 World Diabetes Day (WDD), a non-governmental organisation, Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Initiative (DICOMA), has expressed grave concern over the plight of Nigerians living with diabetes as a significant number of them can no longer control their condition because of high cost of drugs and monitoring devices.
LEADERSHIP reports that WDD is commemorated November 14 every year.
The trustee chairperson of the organisation, Dr. Afoke Isiavwe, who disclosed this in a press statement, made available to LEADERSHIP, said diabetes affects no fewer than five million Nigerians and like elsewhere in the world, the number of cases is increasing very fast, adding that one in every two people with diabetes in the country is undiagnosed.
Isiavwe said people living with diabetes are among the worst hit by the current inflation in the country as many are unable to take their medications or follow necessary guidelines and routines to keep the disease in check.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant disruption it created, have also contributed negatively to this, as many bread winners lost jobs with the economic downturn, DICOMA’s chairperson revealed, adding that children living with diabetes most of whom must be on regular insulin injection are also badly affected by the situation as many parents either reduce doses or stop administering injections as the cost of insulin, a vital component of diabetes management has risen by over 40 per cent in the last six months.
A vial of insulin now costs between N6000 and N12,000 in different parts of the country, she explained.
While the forthcoming WDD offers a great opportunity to alert the government and public that the scourge of diabetes is attaining a dangerous dimension, Isiavwe called on the federal and state governments to seize the golden opportunity offered by WDD events to introduce measures towards addressing the plight of Nigerians living with diabetes.
“To this end we call on the government to, as a matter of urgency introduce policy and measures to drastically reduce the cost of anti-diabetes drugs and devices through zero import tariff and encouragement of their local production. Government should provide free or subsidised insulin for children and the elderly
implement some of the already existing policies and guidelines for the management of diabetes in Nigeria,” she added.