Experts bemoan lack of data, equipment in diabetes management
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s World Health Day, experts have bemoaned lack of data and modern equipment as the major hindrances in effective management of diabetes mellitus in the country.
The experts, who spoke in Lagos at the World Health Day Media Roundtable, said that without data and right tools, it had become almost impossible to track prevalence rate of the disease and treat them accordingly.
Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, said though the disease was gradually assuming an epidemic proportion worldwide, as it had become one of the 10 leading causes of death globally, the real situation in Nigeria could not really be established because of lack of data.
He said while the dearth of data continue to affect diabetes management and research, it had continue to ravage many Nigerians because of its silent nature.
Bode said: “Because of our cultural believe that if a condition does not stops one from eating, does not cause pains and bleeding, it is not considered serious,” the disease hides behind many others since it is taken for granted.
He lamented that the foundation of most diabetes conditions are laid in childhood because of foods children are fed with. Citing some sugary food and fast foods as not healthy, he urged parents to teach good health habits to their children.
The Coordinator for World Health Organisation (WHO), Lagos, Dr. Omoniyi Abidoye pointed out that, though historically, diabetes is not common in Africa, its prevalence had in recent times continue to rise, as 80 per cent of people with the disease live in low and middle income countries like Nigeria.
Abidoye explained that, the current prevalence of diabetes in Nigeria is not known but the guess estimate is in-between eight to 10 per cent of the Nigerian population.
According to him, with reference to WHO report, the number of people projected to be having diabetes in Nigeria is rising from 171 million in 2000 to about 366 million in 2030.
He continued saying, an estimate of about 175 million people have diabetes undiagnosed in different parts of the world, with an estimation that a person dies from the disease in every six seconds
He further noted that though the prevalence is high in men, there are more women with the disease because they are prone to all the parameters and risk factors like obesity, pregnancy induced and lack of exercise.
Abidoye regretted that there are no provisions on comprehensive testing in our hospitals to check for blood sugar level as part of basic test when people visit hospitals, so he therefore urged people to make demands for tests not minding the cost if they can afford.
Addressing this year’s theme of the World Health Day, “Beat Diabetes”, the Medical Director of Rainbow Specialist Medical Center, Dr. Afoke Isiavwe stated that the leading complication of diabetes are hypertension, stroke, as patients living with diabetes have a 70 per cent chance of dying from stroke or heart diseases or hypertension.
Poor management of diabetes can lead to the serious damage of end organs, ranging from, blindness, kidney failure, amputation and foot ulcers, she expressed.
The media roundtable which was organized by Nigeria Health Online in partnership with Roches, Accu Chek and Rainbow Specialist Medical Center, witnessed a diabetes patients, one Mrs. Osarenkho Chima who said, some of the challenges are that the drugs are expensive, and there are no information, as well as lack of well trained medical experts in the field.