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One in every 11 Nigerian adults is diabetic, says health minister

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MINISTER of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole has said one in every 11 adults has diabetes and up to half of these are not diagnosed.

He spoke at a one-day Sanofi Diabetes Summit, themed: “Diabetes: New management trends towards improving outcomes”.

Adewole, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Dr. Chris Bode, said less than 10 per cent of people diagnosed with diabetes meet the targets of metabolic control. He said: “Yearly, there are five million diabetes and diabetes-related deaths and every 10 seconds, a limb is amputated due to diabetes. In fact, diabetes is now the most common cause of lower extremity amputation.

“Diabetes Mellitus is a non-communicable disease (NCD) with rising worldwide prevalence. From 100 million in 1994, there are now 415 million people affected and projections for the future put the prevalence in 2030 at 642 million, most of the increase are from Africa and Asia.

“Presently, there are about 15 million diabetics in Africa and a quarter of this number resides in Nigeria,” said Prof. Adewole.

The minister said diabetes is the first or second commonest cause of end stage renal disease in most centres worldwide and is one of the commonest causes of blindness.

These people with diabetes, he said, often have shortened lifespan and 80 per cent of them die of cardiovascular complications ranging from stroke, myocardial infarction, heart or kidney failure to foot gangrene.

“Unfortunately many of these lives are lost at the peak of their prime in the fifth or sixth decade of lives with the attendant devastating effect on the family unit or the nation as a whole.

“For the survivors, diabetes remains one of the costliest conditions to treat; expenses for some of the complications running into millions of naira per patient suffering from kidney failure, stroke, foot gangrene, ischaemic heart disease and retinopathy.”

He said government is working at ensuring the rising trend is halted.

Prof. of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Lagos and Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologists, Lagos University Teaching Hospital Prof. Abiola Oduwole said teachers, who spend over 12 hours with pupils and students should call attention to any child who is fond of drinking water excessively or visits the toilet frequently, as she said, “those are early signs of diabetes”.

Oduwole said: “And if caught early, can be professionally managed and reversed. That way, parents won’t have to spend N30, 000 or more managing this preventable disease.”

She said government needs to enlighten workforce in primary health centres, secondary and alternative medicine personnel, as well as diabetes educator on signs and symptoms of diabetes to look out for in people, especially children when they come to health facilities.


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