Why govt should step up campaign against diabetes

Imenger while in hospital

Everything is being done by medical experts, health institutions and global bodies to ensure that diabetes and its prevention reaches every nook and cranny of the earth. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes.

Barrister Isaac Echono was full of life until sudden death came calling less than two months ago. Before then, as a private practitioner, he was in and out of court representing his clients. No one knew he was suffering from diabetes-related ailment. When, however, news of his death linked to excess sugar in the blood broke out in September, it was a rude shock to those who knew him. Sources close to the late lawyer stated that it was a condition that he failed to properly manage until death came calling on that fateful day. 

Blueprint Weekend gathered that as at the time his condition developed a spark and was rushed to one of the foremost private hospitals located at Utako in Abuja, it was rather too late as he could not recover from the relapse. His death became an eye opener to many persons and medical experts who have advised that individuals should be more careful about their state of health, especially regular examination of sugar level. 
It was, therefore, not a surprise when recently precisely November 14, World Diabetes Day was marked across the world in order to drum support not only for victims of the ailment, but to add further perspectives to the need for government at all levels to ensure that treatments are made available to patients while patients of diabetes are encouraged to take the necessary precautionary measures against the disease. 
With this year’s theme: ‘Access To Diabetes Care: If Not Now, When?, it captured the new dimension about the ailment and also dwelt on the need to ensure that oral drugs and other medications currently in use worldwide are properly administered while adhering to disciplined health habits.

Over 500m sufferers worldwide

It was in that line that the management of the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja also organised a programme as part of activities to mark the day.
Speaking during the event, a medical practitioner, Dr. Adewole Adesanya, called on the three tiers of the government to ensure that people have access to oral drugs and insulin for the treatment of the disease.
Adesanya whose paper presentation dwelt on ‘Prevention, Care and Management of Diabetes’ disclosed to the chagrin of everyone that over 500 million people currently live with the condition worldwide.
He said, “This is a gathering targeted at celebrating ourselves as human beings for good health and provision of opportunities to educate ourselves about the challenges of diabetes and how to manage it. At the age of 40, every human being is prone to become a victim of diabetes.
”It is therefore very important for people within the age of 40 and above to embark on routine checks of their blood sugar levels.”
According to him, insulin being the major medication for the disease at the early period was discovered about 100 years ago and still potent if strictly used.
To that extent, he appealed to governments and well meaning individuals to support everyone suffering from the sickness to access insulin and oral drugs without any hindrances.

Proper feeding style

On the right lifestyle for sufferers of the disease, a dietician, Mrs. Rachel Idakwoji, noted that the right diet and physical exercise can help people from falling prey to diabetes and other health hazards.
She said, “We are what we eat as mortals and should seriously care much for what we eat and drink to prolong our life span.”
The United Nations (UN) had designated November 14 of every year as World Diabetes Day (WDD) to raise awareness about diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done collectively and individually for better prevention, diagnosis and management of the condition.
It would be recalled that the day is also to celebrate the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting who discovered insulin in 1922. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose in the blood to enter cells and provide them with the energy to function.
Mrs. Idakwojisiad further that “Diabetes occurs when blood glucose also called blood sugar is too high in the body. Blood glucose is the main source of energy and comes from the food you eat, while insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food to get into cells to be used for energy.
“However, sometimes the body doesn’t make enough or any insulin or doesn’t use it well. In that case, the glucose would then stay in the blood and not reach the cells for a long time. Therefore, having too much glucose in the blood can cause health problems.” 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this year’s event is intensive in terms of global advocacy.
The world body and its global partners are therefore using the opportunity of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin to highlight the huge gap between the people who need it to control their diabetes as well as essential technologies such as blood glucose meters and test strips as well as those who actually have access to it.
“The day also comes at a time when the world continues to live through the Covid-19 pandemic which has not only resulted in high proportion of people with diabetes among hospitalised patients with severe manifestations of Covid-19 and among those who have succumbed to the virus, but has also led to severe disruption of diabetes services.”