Diabetes: Nigeria Has Only 100 Specialists to 4M Patients, Expert Says

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Martins Ifijeh

A Professor of Medicine, Olufemi Fasanmade has stated that Nigeria has only about 100 highly trained specialists to treat and manage over four million Nigerians living with diabetes.

Stating this during the Diabetes Demystified Symposium in Lagos recently, he said the widening access to diabetes treatment in Nigeria will require deliberate government effort to address the deficit of specialists and technological infrastructure available in hospitals, according to experts.

He said: “With about four million Nigerians living with diabetes and less than 100 highly trained specialist in the disease management, there is an overwhelming human capital gap which needs to be fixed to enhance life expectancy.

“Patients will not be able to see doctors more than three times in a year for regular checkup. And when emergency cases arise, some degree or tendency for delay might be inevitable due to the shortfall in manpower and overwhelming number of patients.

“To bridge the untended gap, we are trying to train more and more people so that even if you are not a diabetes expert, you can have sufficient knowledge to handle patients.”

The Convener and Founder, Wellness Patron, Daniella Akpakwu called for increased awareness on the illness, considering the growing rate of detection and its role as a catalyst for other health complications to build on.

Akpakwu, who veered into public education on lifestyle disease in 2017, laid emphasis on inculcating lifestyle habits that prevent the occurrence of diabetes and tackle the disease to a standstill.

She said: “The more diabetes cases increase, the more the need for awareness on lifestyle measures and changes. Nutrition is a cornerstone in tackling diabetes and I think Nigerians don’t really know much. About nutrition and lifestyle. That is why we came up with wellness patron to help educate people.”