As Nigerians join the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Diabetes Day today, 14 November 2022, the World Health Organisation, WHO has called governments of African countries and its member states to prioritise the investment of essential products in the management of diabetes to ensure equitable access for every diabetic, no matter where on the continent they are.
The apex health agency recently disclosed that 24 million Africans are living with diabetes while a total of 416 million people lost their lives to the disease in 2021.
In a statement signed by the Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, he urged African governments to embrace and modify the global targets for diabetes as part of recommendations to enhance and monitor diabetic responses within their national NCD programmes.
She said this year’s World Diabetes Day is themed “Access to Diabetes Care” and will run through from the year 2021 to 2023 but is categorically celebrated this year with the theme “Education to Protect Tomorrow”.
According to her: “To Africa’s people, I cannot overemphasise the importance of healthy and balanced diets, combined with regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption. This will go a long way to protecting individuals from Type 2 diabetes and other NCDs.
“Africa’s diabetes statistics illustrate the depth of the challenge; 24 million adults are currently living with diabetes, with that number predicted to swell by 129 percent to 55 million by 2045.
“Last year, diabetes mellitus took the lives of 416 000 people on the continent and is forecast to become one of the leading causes of death in Africa by 2030. Importantly, diabetes is the only major Non-Communicable Disease, NCD, for which the risk of dying early is increasing, rather than decreasing.
“Known risk factors include family history and increasing age, along with modifiable risk factors such as overweight and obesity, sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, smoking, and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, these modifiable risk factors are on the rise across all countries in the WHO African Region”.
She revealed that in order to hasten the progress made in the fight against diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, WHO created the Global Diabetes Compact in order to lessen the negative effects of the condition and guarantee that everyone with diabetes has access to equitable, all-inclusive, reasonably priced, and high-quality care.
She continued by saying that the theme for this year was chosen to emphasize the significance of both prevention and response actions and that it will also be used in 2023.