Today, November 14, being the official date for the World Diabetes Day, the World Health Organisation issues a call for action on diabetes, drawing attention to the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease. The disease which is said to have been contracted by 7 million Africans, 1.7 million of whom are Nigerians has been said to quietly but steadily been on the rise over the years due to inactivity and adoption of Western unhealthy diets leading to overweight and obesity is said to most likely explode during years to come.
As a result of the prediction stating 4.8 million Nigerians as part of the 18.2 million Africans to be infected by 2030, the WHO, called for prioritization of actions to prevent people becoming overweight and obese, beginning before birth and in early childhood. A report has shown that the cases of diabetes has quadrupled since the 1980s, therefore Africans have been cautioned concerning what Western diets (high in calories, salt level, sugar and low in vegetables and fruits) or lifestyle they choose to adopt as the affects not only adults but kids also.
It has been noted that most Africans leaving with diabetes are unaware of their conditions and therefore have not sought out help, and this may lead to serious complications such as lower limb amputation, heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke, visual impairment and blindness. Warning signs of the disease include recurrent thirst, frequent urination, intense hunger, weight gain or loss (in the case of type 1 diabetes), increased fatigue, irritability, delayed healing of cuts and bruises etc.
Talking on the financial implication of diabetes to the individual carrier, their families and country at large, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO noted “As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States have set an ambitious target to reduce premature mortality from NCDs – including diabetes – by one third; achieve universal health coverage; and provide access to affordable essential medicines – all by 2030. We have an enormous task at hand”.