By Chinonso Alozie
OWERRI—PARTICIPANTS at this year’s World Diabetes Day, WDD, have advised people living with the disease in the country to eat more of locally manufactured foods as a way of mitigating the problem. In her lecture at a seminar to mark the event at Owerri, an expert, Mrs. Henrietta Uzoagba, told participants that local foods had the tendency to reduce the effect of diabetes and equally sustain one, who is diabetic for as long as he or she wants, provided that the person adheres strictly to the diet control.
Uzoagba mentioned some of the locally based delicacies that fit into the diet balance of the people living with diabetes to include vegetables, bitter leaves, cabbage, cucumber, garden egg, garlic, local (unprocessed or whole grain) rice, unripe plantain, crayfish, snails, ground-nuts and soya beans, among others. She, however, warned that those who are diabetic should form it as a habit to take their breakfast before going out for the day’s activities as refusal to do so could lead to ulcer.
According to her, breakfast was very important to the health of a diabetic. Furthermore, she advised diabetic patients to take a lot of salt and avoid taking honey, soft drinks and any other products manufactured from sugar as such may increase the risks and complicationsarising from such food items.
She also said that diabetic patients should desist from frying red oil when preparing their dishes, just as she warned them against taking lipton tea or coffee whether they have high blood pressure or not, as their health could degenerate rapidly through that. Uzoagba stressed that, to eat adequately and stick to the advice against eating foods that remain inimical to their health would significantly enhance their well-being, pointing out that, it was acceptable to have fibre included in their daily meals.
Also, the Imo State Chairman of the Diabetics Association of Nigeria, DAN, Mr. Reginald Oputa, who represented the National President, Prof. Sunny Chinenye, said that the association was formed in 1991, by the International Diabetes Federation, IDF, and World Health Organisation, WHO, due to the increasing health challenges caused by diabetes, with the aim of finding solutions to them.
He said that the 2015 World Diabetes Day, focused on the importance of healthy eating as well as the effective management of diabetes to prevent complications.
While enumerating the challenges recorded in the fight against diabetes, he said: “Very weak financial status of diabetes advocacy groups at all levels, had weakened their performances and output, just as increase in misinformation about diabetes and lack of inappropriate medicare, especially from alternative healthcare providers, inadequate and declining support to diabetic patients, frustration and helplessness among the less privileged persons and families of diabetic patients, increasing complications and deaths associated with diabetes resulting from poverty, fake-drugs and poor knowledge base for diabetes, among others.
Oputa, however, asked governments at various levels to “ensure the availability and affordability of essential medicines/technologies for people living with diabetes as well as abolish tariffs on anti-diabetes drugs and consumables, so that access and affordability can be ensured.” He also, called for effective integration of diabetes care and prevention into our national health system and for the establishment of a national diabetes centre as obtainable in other countries.
According to him, the proposed “centre of excellence in the management of diabetes with zonal coordinating centres is long overdue for Nigeria.” In his own contribution, Mr. Chime Nzeribe, said that he had been diabetic for over 24 years, adding that he could not have survived it if he had not carefully monitored the type of food he took and called on diabetics not to see their health condition as a death sentence.
Nzeribe said that lack of adherence to the diet balance for people living with diabetes or untreated diabetes could lead to blindness, sudden death, impotence, maternal deaths, blood vessel diseases and infertility, among others. Also, Nzeribe’s wife, Akubia told the participants that what is paramount in a diabetic sustaining himself, was to be moderate in the intake of whatever food or fruits in their diet prescriptions and urged them to spread the message to others who were not privileged to be at the event.
She pointed out that such would assist in curtailing the challenges faced by those living with diabetes. Also, Mr. Chidi Nkwopara, Imo State, correspondent of Vanguard newspapers, who made his remark on behalf of Rotary International, said that the club in its six point agenda offers humanitarian support in so many areas which include “disease control and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child care, education and literacy, peace and conflict resolution, economic and community development.