By Sola Ogundipe
Concerned about the growing population of people living with diabetes in Nigeria, the Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Group, DICOMAG, has called for urgent measures to stem the tide.
Speaking on the 2019 World Population Day, the Trustee Chairperson of DICOMAG, Dr. Afoke Isiavwe, said diabetes could become a serious threat to the nation’s population in the next few years if urgent steps are not taken to address the growing spread.
Isiavwe noted that the steady increase of the global population, which stands at approximately 7.7 billion people, has made diabetes, also increasing at an alarming rate, a major health issue that should be in focus.
“Currently, no fewer than 425 million persons live with diabetes worldwide. In Nigeria, it is estimated that nearly 4 per cent – 11 per cent of the population, about 4 million people, live with the condition.
“The prevalence is however higher than figures often quoted because it is known that nearly a half of all people with diabetes don’t know they have it, thus missing the opportunity for early detection and necessary treatment needed to reduce the dangerous complications often associated with diabetes.
“It is also known that 80 per cent of type 2 diabetes mostly suffered by adults could be prevented while 70 per cent of deaths among adults are largely due to behaviour initiated during adolescence.
“The major aim of the World Population Day is to focus attention on the consequence of population issues and how it affects overall development plans and programs. In particular, this year’s edition calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development thus stressing the need for leaders, policymakers, grassroots organizers, institutions and individuals to help make reproductive health and rights a reality for all.
“DICOMAG, however, believes that with an alarming increase in all parts of Nigeria, like elsewhere in the world, diabetes may soon become a population issue if urgent steps are not taking to address the current unacceptably high burden of the disease.
“We, therefore, call on governments at all levels on this occasion of World Population Day to step up measures towards the control of diabetes in the country. “Such measures will include preventive measures such as public screening for early signs of diabetes, public enlightenment, effective control measures such as scientific guidelines for diabetes treatment and prevention, access to medications and test kits for people living with the condition, among others.”