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Stats: 17,021 members, 65,849 Topics, 14,864 Comments. Date: April 24, 2019, 8:49 pm

Sunday Demilade
Ladoke Akintola university ogbomosho
200Level, Nigeria.
[justify]• You may be blind or down with stroke before knowing you have diabetes

By Chioma Obinna

An amputee narrated his ordeal with diabetes foot care. He was once a vibrant young man working in the entertainment industry and had everything going well for him. But life came to a stop when he sustained a leg injury which refused to heal.
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He was unaware before then that he had diabetes – not even when he first reported at the health centre where the foot ulcer was managed for two weeks. He only got to know when he was referred to the General Hospital where the leg was eventually amputated. More than seven years after his amputation, he is yet to regain a normal life. He lost his job and his blood sugar level is ever rising because he cannot afford his medication and the devices he needs to monitor his sugar level. He is completely out of control of diabetes.

This is the story of a typical African living with diabetes. It’s a story that resonated throughout the one day Diabetic Summit organised by Sanofi Aventis in Lagos. The experts at the summit were unanimous in their submissions. Like a tsunami, diabetes mellitus is sweeping across Africa in a dangerous manner and people living with it are not receiving the type of care they need.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), an estimated 15.5 million adults, aged 20-79 years, were living with diabetes in Africa as of 2017. The continent is also reported to have the highest proportion of undiagnosed diabetes, with over two-thirds (69.2%) of adults currently living with diabetes unaware of their condition.

In Nigeria, no fewer than 3.9 million people are estimated to be living with diabetes currently while about 846,000 people have diabetes but are not aware they have it. Experts say most of them will likely get to know only when complications set in such as blindness, stroke, foot ulcer that could result in amputation, kidney failure, among several other conditions often linked with diabetes. This is because diabetes is a ‘silent’ disease which does not often present symptoms until it results in serious complications. The only way to get to know is through blood screening which most people will, ordinarily, not think about unless they have a health problem.


But the concern of the experts at the summit was about the care of those already living with diabetes. Held under the theme, ‘Personalizing Diabetes Care’, the consensus among the experts from Nigeria, USA, Egypt and Cameroon is that Nigerians living with diabetes, like other Africans, are not achieving treatment control in line with international standards. Complications such as foot amputation are reportedly on the increase in the country.

According to a professor of medicine and endocrinology, from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde, Yaounde, Cameroon, Jean Claude Mbanya, only a few people living with diabetes are achieving treatment clinical goals in Africa.

Citing data collected in 2016 from some African countries Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia in an International Diabetes Management Practice Study (IDMPS), tagged, ‘Wave 7 for Africa,’

Mbanya, in his presentation entitled, ‘Management of Mealtime Hyperglycaemia, disclosed that less than five percent of people with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus are achieving glycaemic target of HbA1c

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