.Diabetes

*As 11.2 million live with disease

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

MEDICAL experts have expressed fears over the alarming rate of diabetes among Nigerians, asking authorities to initiate policies towards addressing it.

Speaking variously during the launch of a project on diabetes between Novo Nordisk and Federal Ministry of Health, in Abuja,they tasked the federal government to prioritize diabetes treatment at the primary level.

A total of 3.6 million adults (20-79 years) and 4,440 children and adolescents (0-19 years) are said to be living with diabetes.

The event saw stakeholders from Novo Nordisk, the Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology of Nigeria (SPAEN), the Federal Ministry of Health and others brainstorm on iCARE
initiative in Nigeria.

Measures on changing diabetes in children and affordability programme were discussed.

A consultant endocrinologist, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Prof. Sunny Chinenye, disclosed at the event that besides 11.2 million Nigerians presently living with the disease,about 40 percent had no information that they were living with the condition.

Delivering a paper on “Prioritising Better Treatment for People Living with Diabetes”during a defeat diabetes in Nigeria Stakeholder engagement on iCARE initiatives: Changing Diabetes in Children & Affordability,he warned that inability to diagnose diabetes and on time could cause some complications which if not lucky, “could lead to sudden death, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke or blindness.”

“From the mathematical calculations we have done 11. 2 million Nigerians are living with diabetes. Out of the diabetes Atlas we made like an extrapolation published by IDF Diabetes ATLAS that days in Nigeria at least 3.6millon persons are living with diabetes,”he said.

Açcording to him, “We have looked at all our local studies and put it together and it is 11.2 million Nigerians.”

He spoke further:”Take note that out of this 40% are not even yet diagnosed and by the time you diagnose them they already have complication. So there is a need for us to look for them, dictate it, manage because studies show that when you dictate diabetes early and manage it an individual will live very well rather than die from it.

Also speaking, Mr. Jude Abonu,
Business Unit Head, English West Africa Novo Nordisk, said 19,074 patients have been reached in Nigeria.

He said the organisation remained committed to helping people living with diabetes stay healthy, give senior citizens access to insulin at affordable prices and ensuring that no child die from diabetes.

Hear him:”The Federal Ministry of Health and Novo Nordisk had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU), which will serve as the basis on which the roll-out of iCARE will be anchored. Other stakeholders include the Royal Danish Embassy (RDE) and World Wide Commercial Ventures Limited (WWCVL).

“The key objective of the initiative in Nigeria is the provision of access to affordable diabetes care for vulnerable patients, through the Affordability programme designed for retired and elderly people over the age of 55 who have limited income and health coverage, and the Changing Diabetes in Children programme (CDiC) for children living with type 1 diabetes. These align with the defeat diabetes strategy, which targets underserved populations in every country.

The Ambassador of Denmark to Nigeria, Mr Sune Krogstrup, spoke on the strategic role of the iCARE initiative and its various programmes in the corporate vision of Novo Nordisk to defeat diabetes in Africa and facilitate access to affordable diabetes care for the underserved populations living with the disease.

He said Novo Nordisk will continue to support improved access to insulin and diabetes education for patients living with diabetes, through innovative projects and partnerships with various
stakeholders to drive change to defeat diabetes.

“As a leader with close to 100 years of experience in diabetes care, Novo Nordisk is committed to defeating diabetes in Africa,”he said.

The consultant endocrinologist, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Prof. Felicia Anumah, in her presentation, said there was urgent need for prevention and better disease management to lower the risk of secondary complications and early death.

On his part,the Deputy National Coordinator, Non-Communicable Disease and the Desk Officer, Diabetes, Federal Ministry of Health,Dr Alayo Sopekan ,called for emplacement of national guidelines on diabetes.

Açcording to him,it was time to strengthen the treatment of diabetes at the primary health care level.

Recall that iCARE is the implementation of a new global social responsibility strategy called “defeat diabetes” by Novo Nordisk, in Africa, with the ambition to provide access to affordable diabetes care to vulnerable patients in every country and ensure that no child should die from type 1 diabetes.

Recall also that the Federal Ministry of Health and Novo Nordisk had earlier signed a Memorandum of
Understanding,MoU, which will serve as the basis on which the roll-out of iCARE will be anchored. Other stakeholders include the Royal Danish Embassy (RDE) and World Wide Commercial Ventures Limited (WWCVL).

The key objective of the initiative in Nigeria is the provision of access to affordable diabetes care for vulnerable patients, through the Affordability programme designed for retired and elderly people over the age of 55 who have limited income and health coverage, and the Changing Diabetes in Children programme (CDiC) for children living with type 1 diabetes.

These align with the defeat diabetes strategy, which targets underserved populations in every country.

The Affordability programme aims to reach 12,000 patients with affordable insulin through 100 implementing facilities, while building the capacity of 450 Health Care Providers (HCPs) by 2023. The CDiC programme aims to reach 2,400 children and train 380 HCPs, working through 30 facilities by 2025.

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