Revealed! 16m Africans live with diabetes, Nigeria on top – Expert

As Diabetes Day is being marked globally, over 16 million Africans are currently living with diabetes with Nigeria recording the highest number of the disease, even as the figures are estimated to rise to 41 million by 2045, an expert has said. 

A Consultant Endocrinologist /Diabetologist Dr. Innocent Okpe at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Kaduna state, called on Africans particularly Nigerian, to take strong measures against the rapid rise of diabetes patients among its citizens, noting that there is lurking danger in the rise of the disease as 41 million Africans are prone to diabetes by 2045. 

Delivering a presentation at an event to mark the World Diabetes Day, Dr. Okpe said, “In 2017 research showed that Nigeria accounts for 31 percentage of 16 million persons living with diabetes in Africa and estimated to hit 41 million in Africa by 2045. The disease is put at 156 percent growth as nothing is being done to change the current trend.

“In Nigeria, the prevalence ranges from 0.6% – 15% with increasing prevalence after 45 years. A recent meta-analysis put the average national prevalence at 5.7%. The 20 – 64 year age group has the greatest number of persons with diabetes. 

“Worldwide about 4 million people died of diabetes in 2017 with most death occurring in developing countries,” the consultant said.

Leading a walk against diabetes from National Eye Centre to neighbouring settlements, the Chief Medical Director Dr. Mahmoud Alhassan who was represented by Dr Johnson Akan, pointed out that diabetes is a dangerous disease that seriously damages the eyes and makes medical intervention very difficult stressing that more awareness on management and routine exercise help in handling the disease.

The World Diabetes Day takes place each year on November 14th, the birthday of Frederick Banting the Canadian physician who shared the 1923 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Charles Best for his central role in the discovery of insulin and its potential for use in the treatment of diabetes.

It was established by the international Diabetes Federation (IDF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1991. It became an official UN day in 2006 and is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign, serving to highlight important issues via annual and multi-year themes that have previously included education, prevention, foot care, healthy eating, women and diabetes.

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