Health Minister Advocates for Regular Checkup against Diabetes

  • As Novo Nordisk launches diabetes centre

Martins Ifijeh

With statistic showing that 40, 800 persons died of diabetes related-cases in Nigeria last year, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has urged adult Nigerians to have their sugar level tested regularly in order to avoid more deaths caused by the disease.

Stating this at the launch of Novo Nordisk Base of Pyramid (BoP) awareness campaign in Lagos to promote early diagnosis of diabetes, Adewole said maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, avoiding intake of hard drugs, as well as regular exercise would help in the prevention of diabetes.

The minister, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Ebutte Metta, Dr. Munirah Yewande Jinadu, said; “Red meats, saturated fat, refined sugars in foods and drinks, inadequate consumption of fibre-rich food and low vegetable and fruit intake may be risky factors for diabetes,” adding that in addition to avoiding risky factors for it, there should be regular checkups. ‘‘Also, Myths and misconceptions are barriers in dealing effectively with the disease,” he said.

He stated that Nigerians should watch out for symptoms like excessive hunger, thirst and frequent urination. “These are the commonest ones. There may be unexplained weight loss. It is important to seek medical opinion if any of these symptoms occur.

“It is worrisome that of the estimated five million adult Nigerians that have diabetes, a significant proportion are not even aware of their condition. This awareness campaign is, therefore, important today to detect the silent cases and for people to know their status,” he affirmed.

Lending his voice, the General Manager, Novo Nordisk Middle Africa, Mr. Venkat Kalyan, said for a long time, diabetes was considered a disease of affluent people. “However, evidence suggests that it affects poor populations equally with huge health complications due to late diagnosis. Hence, the launch marks the beginning of a three-month diabetes awareness campaign in Edo, Ondo and Lagos states.”

As a global healthcare company with over 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care, Kalyan assured that Novo Nordisk was committed to addressing the barriers through access to care and well trained healthcare professionals.

Statistics have shown that 1.6 million Nigerian adults have diabetes, which could rise to 3.30 million by 2040, with more than six out of 10 people not knowing they have diabetes in the country.