The Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki has stated that diabetes and hypertension were the two commonest noncommunicable diseases seen in the tertiary hospital.
Speaking during the commemoration of the 2019 World Diabetes Day (WDD) in Benin recently, with support from Sanofi, a global healthcare company focused on human health, the CMD said more than half of those who have the two diseases are unaware that they have them and were often present for medical care too late.
He said: “The screening exercise is necessary so as to detect the disease early and take necessary medical intervention to avoid complications. We are using this opportunity to create awareness about diabetes, which is one of the commonest we see here. This is a measure to prevent or effectively manage it.”
He commended the Iyase of Udo Dukedom, HRH Patrick Igbinidu and his council of chiefs for mobilising the people in their large numbers to participate in the disease awareness sessions and screening exercise. He also commended Sanofi for their support.
The WDD event, which had the theme “The Family and Diabetes”, also saw the launch of a diabetes and hypertension clinic (DHC) – a public-private partnership initiative between UBTH and Sanofi aimed at effective management of the diseases by bringing healthcare to the primary level of care and closer to people in underserved communities.
Sharing her thoughts, the General Manager Rx and Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Pharm. Folake Odediran said the growing burden of diabetes was a major public health concern and a development challenge because the disease forces many people and families into poverty due to catastrophic expenditures on treatment.
Odediran said: “Barriers to effective management of diabetes include low level of disease awareness, inability to access health workers or health facilities, poorly equipped health centers, inadequate number of health workers and inability to afford the cost of treatment.
“To remove the barriers of access to healthcare, our purpose is to understand the healthcare needs of people in places where we serve and to help in solving those needs. At Sanofi, we recognise that diabetes is a growing public health issue in Nigeria and we are taking definitive steps in tackling the disease burden through collaboration with stakeholders, such as UBTH.
She reminded that the commissioning of the DHC was in fulfilment of the terms of the memorandum of understanding that the company signed with UBTH in July this year.
The DHC project, she said, is a social responsibility project of Sanofi to help strengthen the health system and remove some of the barriers of access to healthcare by promoting public disease awareness about diabetes and hypertension, upskilling healthcare practitioners through training and providing easy access for people in underserved communities to check their health status and receive appropriate medical care.