The W.H.O has raised serious concern over the rising cases of diabetes in the African region, attributing it to lifestyle and late diagnosis.
In it’s recent report to mark this year’s world diabetes day, the world health organization say over 19 million people are living with diabetes in Africa and this number is expected to grow to 47 million by 2025.
The report also notes that about two-thirds of people living with diabetes in African countries are unaware of their condition. The known risk factors for diabetes include family history, age, being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, or use of alcohol or tobacco.
Report further states that without management and lifestyle changes, diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, lower limb amputation, visual impairment, blindness and nerve damage, including erectile dysfunction. People with diabetes are also at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Surveys by WHO on access to essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, show that access to diabetes care has been severely disrupted in the African Region.
Ultimately, services to prevent and manage diabetes care are essential components in realizing Universal Health Coverage, so that all people can access the care they need.
To improve equitable access to quality diabetes care, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti has tasked the Governments to invest in making essential products like insulin, blood glucometers and test strips available to all communities.
This should be backed by training of health workers in noncommunicable disease prevention and management at the district and community level towards improving service availability.
Furthermore Moeti urged people living with diabetes to protect themselves from severe COVID-19 illness and death, by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they can.
The theme this year till 2023, is “Access to diabetes care” . This is because too many people still do not have access to diagnostics, medicines and monitoring devices that can help with diabetes management.