Do you know that many Nigerians are diabetic? We can tell you that for free. This is because more and more people suffer from Diabetes.
A recent report show that Diabetes in Nigeria is projected to rise by 8 million by 2045. According to the report the number of people living with Diabetes is expected to grow over 100 per cent in Africa with the prevalence of the disease in Nigeria projected to rise to eight million by 2045.
This is according to a Diabetes care report published by The Access to Medicine Foundation (ATMF), a Netherlands-based non-profit organisation, that stimulates and guides pharmaceutical companies to do more for people living in low and middle-income countries
The reports is titled: “REPORT ON DIABETES CARE: What are pharma companies doing to expand access to insulin – and how can efforts be scaled up?”, released October 2022.
It added that the current estimate of 3.5 million living with the disease in Nigeria is probably understated due to poor diagnosis in many African countries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that diabetes mellitus, commonly known as Diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the body is unable to produce or properly use insulin.
Experts say insulin is an essential hormone that helps regulate blood glucose levels and when diabetes is left untreated, persistent high blood glucose levels cause devastating effects in body organs, including cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and nerve damage.
Untreated or poorly controlled diabetes can lead to premature death in some cases and disabling conditions in others, including lower-limb amputations and partial or complete vision loss.
The most common types of diabetes are known as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with other types including gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes often has its onset during childhood or young adulthood. Because of the body’s non-existent or very limited capacity to produce insulin, people living with type 1 diabetes need daily injections of insulin to survive.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of the disease; it is generally diagnosed in adulthood, although onset in young people has been increasing in the past decades.
Dr Jayasree Iyer, the Chief Executive Officer of ATMF, analysing the report, said it also highlighted the magnitude of cost of disease burden and difficulty in access to treatment in Nigeria and other low and middle income countries.
“The burden of treatment of diabetes remains significantly greater in Nigeria and other low to medium-income countries (LMICs).
“According to the report, the number of people with diabetes worldwide is expected to reach 570 million by 2030, and 700 million by 2045, rising most rapidly LMICs as the burden of non-communicable diseases grows.’’
According to the report, affordability remains a barrier to accessing insulin and the reasons for high costs are various, with costs associated with the prevalence of the disease not only being social but also economic.
They include the manufacturer’s selling price, wholesale and retail mark-ups, taxes and other tariffs which also have an influence on insulin’s final price.
It noted that a lack of affordability can lead patients to not being able to access insulin at all, or to patients rationing their insulin if they cannot afford the quantity they need.
The report indicates that 35 per cent of patients in LMICs pay out-of-pocket for healthcare, compared to 13.6 per cent in high-income countries, where the public sector is more likely to be involved.
Another report suggests that Diabetes is expected to become the 7th global leading cause of death by 2030. In 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths worldwide and statistics indicate that the risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double that of their peers without diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, constant hunger, marked weight loss, increased excretion of urine, altered vision and fatigue.
There are 3 types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common and accounts for about 90% of all diabetes worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, type 2 diabetes affects about 8% of people above the age of 25.
Reports of type 2 diabetes in Children – previously rare – is a growing concern in the African Region. In some countries, children and adolescents account for almost half of all newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes. The age of onset of diabetes is a critical indicator of developing complications throughout life. Over time, diabetes can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for between 50% and 80% of deaths in people with diabetes.
Combined with reduced blood flow, diabetes damages the nerves in the feet and combined with its effect on reduction of blood flow to the feet, increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation. In the African Region, diabetic foot is a significant cause of prolonged hospital stays for people with diabetes.
There is a huge unmet need in terms of access to prevention and control interventions for diabetes in the African Region. Strong evidence suggests that at least 80% of type 2 diabetes and its complications can be prevented through lifestyle factors. To prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:
Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight;
Be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most Days of the week. More activity is required for weight control;
Eat a healthy diet of between three and five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and Reduce sugar, salt and saturated fats intake;
Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases; and
Receive regular fasting blood sugar testing.
Scaling-up proven interventions has been hindered by the scarcity of resources, inadequate awareness, limited data, and insufficient access to health services and essential medicines. A coordinated local, national and international response is needed to reduce exposure to the known risk factors for diabetes and to ensure integrated functional health systems.
According to Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, “WHO AFRO is working tirelessly with the 47 Member States in the Region to build and reinforce health systems and implement key interventions that are critical in combating noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and improving the overall health of people in the Region.”
In alignment with the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020, the WHO Regional Office for Africa aims to support national efforts to reduce the preventable and avoidable burden of morbidity, mortality and disability due to diabetes. This is achieved by the development of policies, implementation of best practices, and piloting or scaling up of the WHO Package of essential NCD interventions for primary health care.
Allowing populations to reach the highest attainable standards of health and productivity requires giving high priority to the prevention and control of diabetes. Increasing awareness, boosting advocacy, promoting modifiable risk factors, and implementing cost effective integrated health systems are priority interventions in the fight against diabetes in the African Region.