DIABETES IN NIGERIA: PROTECTING THE FUTURE (Best International Contribution Award)
Nigeria is an explosively colourful and diverse country, known as the super-power of Africa. However, beneath its captivating beauty, it has the highest number of people affected by diabetes on the planet. An alarming 3 million Nigerians have diabetes, and an additional 3.85 million have impaired glucose tolerance. To place this astounding statistic into a more relative perspective, the entire country of New Zealand has a mere population of 4.4 million citizens. Nigeria has in excess of 6 million people with diabetes and these are only the diagnosed cases.
Nigeria also has the highest diabetes-related mortality rate in Africa, and an additional 344,000 annual deaths are due to undiagnosed diabetes. Why, in 2013 are so many people suffering and dying from a condition that is not longer fatal in Western countries? Global governments seem detached from the real issues of the planet. Priorities need to change. Diabetes awareness needs to be at the forefront of governmental discussions to protect the future of countries like Nigeria.
Understandably there are many other health related conditions in Nigeria. Sufferers of HIV/Aids rightly receive free diagnosis tests and gain some subsidised medication. Unfortunately the money simply isn’t available for patients facing or living with diabetes. They are often unable to gain access to syringes, insulin and monitoring equipment. Without check-ups and education they can also be unaware that they are developing physical complications. If awareness was increased around the country, and communities were encouraged to attend regular medical check-ups, more patients would be healthy and positively managing their conditions and mortality would subsequently decrease.
The introduction of unhealthy Western foods has also led to an increase in cases of type two diabetes. If educated teams could travel to communities and spread information about diet, avoiding or managing diabetes and the complications to look out for, the country would be in a much more positive position and able to conquer the current mortality statistics.
By the year 2030 it is estimated that developing nations will account for over 80% of the global increase of patients with diabetes. In Nigeria the expenditure simply cannot be matched. This rapid growth means that people with diabetes are likely to suffer the most; and unfortunately the healthcare sector will unjustly buckle under the financial strain. It is imperative that awareness programs are initiated now, before funding further decreases.
We need to work together as a planet. If the available money and technology could be spent on proactive education, the numbers of patients with type two diabetes could drastically decrease. This would also have a flow on effect by freeing up funding for the much needed medical supplies for insulin dependent type ones and twos. Positive change stems from awareness and community support, hopefully the future of Nigeria will be protected if positive measures are taken and education could become more far reaching. The citizens of Nigeria deserve to live, be healthy and look forward to a brighter future.
Diabetes in Nigeria: Protecting the Future (2nd Place)
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Hello, it is with utmost pleasure that I write to tell you of my journey so far towards being the number one killer disease on the planet and the good news is that I’m close to achieving this dream of mine. I run in families and can be transferred through genes so you can be sure that when your dad or mum has a piece of me, you are at high risk of having me as well. I become readily available when your body does not produce enough insulin or your body cells are not responding to insulin. And even if I’m not present in your family already, you can be the first in the family to invite me.
All you simply have to do is stick to an only-carbohydrate diet with sugary soft drinks and I’ll be right there smiling and waiting for the right time to strike. For those of you who are obese and do not exercise, we are definitely allies already as you simply make my job easier.
You might make the mistake of underestimating my abilities and take me for granted but be sure that when I strike, you’ll urinate more often, get thirsty, lose weight and the slightest injury to you have will refuse to heal and worsen to the extent that you might get an amputation.
I attack people all over the world but my favourite domain is in Nigeria because when I strike in some places here, they attribute it to witches in their villages giving me the impetus to spread my wings further.
Well, at this point I know what you are thinking. That I’m unfair right? But please don’t be quick to condemn because I’m not as unfair as those of you who know all about me and haven’t warned your friends and neighbours. This is because the truth is that I’m not as powerful as I sound. I am almost powerless if you discover me on time by running a test on your blood or urine and then starting treatment with drugs and exercise depending on the type of me you are affected by.
With all these mentioned you can render me totally powerless and lead your normal life. On the contrary, if I’m not discovered early, I can go ahead to affect your eyes, heart, kidney, ears and give you all sorts of ailments that you will find difficult to cope with.
So the next time you act like I do not exist and do not take the necessary precautions, remember that I have a dream of being the number one killer disease and you are simply the next available target!.
DIABETES IN NIGERIA: PROTECTING THE FUTURE 3RD PLACE
“Diabetes Mellitus is defined as a metabolic disorder characterized by chronic high blood sugar level with disturbances to carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism resulting from defects in insulin secretion, action or both”1.
Diabetes is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. More than 80 percent of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries. It is predicted to be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide by 20302.
It has been estimated that four out of every hundred Nigerians have diabetes mellitus 3.
Diabetes is common among urban settlers in Nigeria, affecting those within ages of 35-70 years due to obesity, sedentary lifestyles, dietary intake, alcohol, smoking and black race. Sadly, this age group represents economically productive in the country.
The future of Nigeria needs to be protected; we are here today because a previous generation protected their future. Hence we must pass on this privilege. Diabetes can affect Nigeria economically, educationally, socially and psychologically
Diabetic patients are usually faced with complications like blindness, limb amputations, heart conditions and kidney disease. The cost implication for the treatment of the disease is very high and unaffordable among the low income people. The sick are less productive, dependent on relations and tax payers for survival and often experience discrimination.
The school age diabetic patients find it difficult to concentrate on their studies due to their irregularities at school. Therefore, their educational development is in jeopardy.
There is tendency that diabetes will gradually reduce the country’s population if care is not taken.
To protect our future there are three basic suggested stages.
In the primary prevention stage, we aim at increasing the level of awareness of the public on causes and effects of diabetes by educating them on needs for lifestyle modifications, exercise, diet modifications as well as signs and symptoms of diabetes. Government can also regulate products of eateries, outlaw smoking and alcohol to prevent diabetes.
Interestingly, Nigerian Diabetic online community is doing a great job by reaching to all and sundry on this aspect.
At the secondary level, the aim is to promptly diagnose diabetes and treat in pre-clinical stage hereby avoiding complications.
In addition, Government and philanthropists are to be encouraged to offer free treatment to diabetic patients in the country. Government can as well encourage self-screening tests by subsidizing prices of glucometer for that purpose.
The tertiary level involves early treatment of complications to reduce morbidity and mortality, rehabilitation of those affected and creation of support groups to encourage them
‘Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come
We have today. Let us begin’.
Our future starts from now, what we have in our hands may be worse than world war consequences if we allow it to degenerate. The Nigerian diabetic online community has shown concern to fight diabetes and save lives. Collectively, we are enjoined to unite to fight diabetes together.
2ND RUNNER UP
International Journal of Diabetes in developing countries: Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus
American diabetes association. 2004; 27:5-10
2. World Health Organization. 2012;Diabetes Mellitus control
The Outreach was collaboration between three Non Governmental Organisations namely: The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community (The NGDOC), Heal the World Foundation Nigeria and Curb Cancer Nigeria. It was conducted at Idi Iroko, Ogun State.
Idi Iroko is a small Community in the outskirt of Ogun State, Yewa South Local Government Area. It forms a border between Nigeria and Benin Republic. Officers of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Immigration are on both sides of the border to check people passing through the place in order to curb illegal trades. It is about 3 hours drive from Sagamu. The prevailing occupation is trading.
Adequate awareness was conducted in the community about the outreach days before, this reflected in the huge number of people that turned out for the outreach.
A team of volunteers from the 3 organizations arrived at the venue at about 10 am in a bus after a journey which lasted about three hours. A total of about 1500 people were already at the venue awaiting the medical team.
Questionnaires were administered to the people to find out about their knowledge, awareness and attitude to Diabetes and risk assessment. A brief health talk was delivered by one of the medical personnel.
Each participant went through the vital signs stations before they saw the doctors and then screening for diabetes and counselling was carried out.
The outreach lasted for over five hours .The medical outreach eventually ended at about 4pm and the medical team left.
The turn out of the people for the free medical outreach was impressing. This shows their responsiveness to Orthodox medicine
Majority of the people that turned out for the outreach were elderly people above 50 years of age
The people were eager to learn more about their health. This was displayed by their attentive attitude during the brief health talk
According to the International Diabetes Federation, health in sub-Saharan Africa has been traditionally dominated by infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, and poverty. With rapid urbanisation, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes are quickly becoming a new priority for health in the region. As urbanisation increases and the population ages, diabetes will pose an even greater threat.
In 2011, 14.7 million adults in the Africa Region are estimated to have diabetes, with a regional prevalence of 3.8%. The range of prevalence (%) figures between countries reflects the rapid transition communities in the region are facing. The highest prevalence of diabetes in the Africa Region is in the island of Réunion (16.3 %), followed by Seychelles (12.4%), Botswana (11.1%) and Gabon (10.6%). Some of Africa’s most populous countries also have the highest number of people with diabetes, with Nigeria having the largest number (3.0 million), followed by South Africa (1.9 million), Ethiopia (1.4 million), and Kenya (769,000).
Africa is currently the second largest mobile phone market after Asia, with more than 700 million mobile connections and a projected rise to almost 1 billion by 2016. More people on the continent have been introduced to the internet via mobile phones, and currently, Africa’s mobile data usage amounts to 14.85% of the total internet traffic – second only to Asia. In view of this, social media health platforms are rising with social media becoming an integral part of modern society fostering a more intense, engaging and democratic discussion. Social media has moved beyond being a tool for young individuals to share their private lives (pictures, messages) to fostering serious discussion on technology, health and business.
The diabetes online community in Africa started up with Nigeria and South Africa joining in the world diabetes day 16hour twitter chat in 2012 organized by the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy in the United States of America, (http://diabetessocmed.com/). This chat featured about 6 countries, 449 participants, about 5 thousand Tweets, 6million impressions and reaching over 14 million people.
With Africa’s mobile subscriber base estimated to grow annually by a significant 30 percent, utilization of social media in establishing online health peer support communities in Nigeria and Africa has helped create awareness, educate and act as a great social media peer support.
To celebrate this year’s World Diabetes Day (WDD) on November 14, the Global Diabetes Communities spearheaded by The Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation formerly Diabetes Social Media Advocacy is coordinating a 24 hour global twitter chat for diabetes awareness and to celebrate the world diabetes day.
This 24hour twitter chat which will involve diabetes organizations like the Australian Diabetes online community, Blueprint Barbados,100 Campaign, Great Britain Diabetes online community, diabetes daily , diabetes hand foundation and the Nigeria diabetes online community aims at achieving a global conversation on the state of diabetes care.
The Nigeria Diabetes online community will be moderating the chat from 3pm-4pm E.S.T (9pm-10pm local time) and we will be discussing the Theme: Diabetes Prevention and Care in Nigeria: the past, present and future.
This is a clarion call to all people living with diabetes, diabetes advocates, and health care providers, government health agencies to join the global diabetes movement and get their voices heard.
The Chat will run from 0:00hrs -24:00hrs E.S.T (5am Nov 14- 5am Nov 15 local time). Join the Nigeria diabetes online community from 8pm-9pm Nov 14 as we discuss issues pertaining to diabetes in the continent.
In November 2010, Cherise Shockley cordinator of @DiabetesSocMed founded the Blue Fridays Initiative to spread the word about World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month.
Diabetes is more than just a national issue; it is a world epidemic. Blue Fridays brings the global diabetes community together to raise awareness and celebrate World Diabetes Day.
Cherise received several emails and Facebook messages asking her to extend Blue Fridays and in december 2011, she honored the request she received from many people throughout the diabetes community by asking everyone to wear something blue every Friday.
Inspired by the Cherise’s #bluefriday success @hadejumo started the blue friday personality of the week #bluefridaypow where he aimed at showcasing and profiling people every friday who are dedicated to creating diabetes awareness as a way of promoting diabetes awareness, blue friday and reducing the stigma associated with diabetes in nigeria and africa in general.
This program which featured so many people (PW/OD) was generally accepted by nigerians and henceforth will be continued (from the 14th of March, 2013) by @theNGdoc and @diabeticare.
If you are a PWD,a Diabetes advocate or an interested individual and you want to be featured as our #bluefridaypow (Blue Friday Personality of the week) send your Your Name, when diagnosed if a PWD if not skip, your activities, profession, works (blogs, research or articles on D) or what you do generally!
Should you have any quotes or sites we can quote from, we’d gladly do that.
Send a picture of you in blue and with answers to the questions above to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expect a responce from us within 3 working days.
More info on WDD Blue Fridays Initiative bluefridays – Diabetes Social Media Advocacy can be found here
Thank you and keep the awareness alive.
The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community #ngdoc @theNGdoc is a nongovernmental, nonprofit making organization established for the purpose of providing sustainable human health development through online social activities like empowerment, education, connection and support for diabetics, diabetes health care providers and advocates in Nigeria.
Since its official launch on twitter on the 1st of March, its growth has been tremendous with the 1st Nigeria Diabetes discussion #ngdoc taking place on the 10th of March,2013 9pm GMT.
The discussion was centered on Diabetes Awareness in Nigeria – how much is too much” co-hosted by @theNGdoc and @diabeticare aimed at accessing the level of awareness and the adequacy of the information about diabetes circulating among Nigerians.
The discussion had 23 participants with 182 tweets and 34,885 impressions. Full transcript available here
A big thank you to the #doc for the inspiration and motivation to initiate this laudable step in Nigeria.
Join us on @theNGdoc on twitter and NGDOC on facebook to be a part of this great family.