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
3. International Diabetes Foundation 2011