An NGO, Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Group (DICOMAG) on Thursday urged the new Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire to make the control of diabetes a major priority during his tenure.
According to the group, the minister should devise urgent and concrete measures to address the current heavy burden of the disease to prevent a looming epidemic.
“We congratulate the Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora for their appointment.
“We are delighted that Ehanire is back in the ministry where he served as the Minister of State in the last dispensation and believe he is well placed to lead the ministry toward the revitalisation and restructuring of the nation’s battered healthcare delivery system.
“The organisation, however, urges the minister, as he settles down to work, to urgently address the alarming increase of diabetes in Nigeria, its attendant complications, deadly consequences and impact on the health and overall well-being of citizens.
“The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that no fewer than five million Nigerians are currently living with diabetes and like elsewhere in the world, the number of cases is increasing very fast,” a statement signed by its Director of Communication, Mrs Yinka Shokunbi said.
“The Federation also estimates that one in every two people with diabetes in the country is undiagnosed, which means that the current estimated number of cases could be double or even more.
“In 2018, experts at a stakeholders meeting on diabetes foot care raised the alarm that Nigeria is currently recording unacceptable numbers of lower extremities amputation and death resulting from diabetes foot ulcer in all parts of the country.
“Results of different studies in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State, Port Harcourt in Rivers, Ile Ife in Osun, the rural communities in Gombe, Enugu, Kwara, Borno, Zaria, Uyo and Sokoto, all indicate that diabetes is prevalent.
“It is contributing to the development of heart disease, renal disease, pneumonia, bacteremia, and even tuberculosis (TB) in all the places.’’
The group added: “Diabetes also affects virtually all organs of the body, resulting in loss of vision, dental problem, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, lower limb amputation, sexual dysfunction, among others when not properly controlled.
“Sadly, it is a situation faced by Nigerians living with diabetes today,’’ the statement said.
DICOMAG urged the Federal Government to ensure adequate budgetary allocation to the diabetes desk of the department of non-communicable diseases and massive enlightenment campaign about diabetes.
It also called for enforcement of federal health institutions to commence blood sugar testing as part of routine tests for all patients visiting the hospital.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)