Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Experts in the health sector have declared that 11.2 million are currently living with the condition in Nigeria and advised Nigerians to practice preventive measures in order to reduce its prevalence of diabetes.
This was disclosed yesterday during the launching of a project between Novo Nordisk and Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja.
Speaking on the challenges of diabetes care in Nigeria, a Consultant at Endocrinologist of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Professor 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 causes 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 i-Care Initiative, we should aim at informing, canvassing, educating, advocating and generally making a case for the prioritisation of better care for Nigerians living with diabetes mellitus.”
Also, the President, Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinologist in Nigeria, Professor Abiola Oduwole, noted the need for cooperation in order to provide an acceptable environment that would enble children living with diabetes to have normal lives at home, school, community, and reaching their life potentials.
Oduwole disclosed that their organisation is spreading in all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
The Business Unit Head, English West Africa Novo Nordisk, Mr. Vinay Ransiwal, said that they have trained diabetes patients on how to cope with the illness.
Ransiwal explained that diabetes would become a death sentence with lots of problems for those who lacked the awareness on how to cope with it.
He said that the whole idea is that “the more I know about my condition the more I can manage it that is why we empower the patients. We also trained experts in diabetes.
“We are targeting that in the next three to six years we will have centers across Nigeria.”