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Over 400M people worldwide have diabetes

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By Mercy Kelani

About 70% of those in low-and middle-income countries live with diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease that emerges in the human body either when production of insulin – a hormone responsible for the Regulation of blood glucose – by the pancreas is not enough or when it is difficult for the body to use the insulin it produces. Oftentimes, the effect of uncontrolled diabetes is hyperglycemia, also known as raised blood glucose or raised blood sugar, which usually causes critical damage to the nerves and blood vessels especially.

In 1991, the International Diabetes Federation, backed by World Health Organization (WHO) to address diabetes-threatened health and economy, established World Diabetes Day which subsequently became an official UN day in 2006. In 2007, the adoption of resolution A/RES/61/225 by the General Assembly set aside November 14 as World Diabetes Day. A major issue raised in the document is “the urgent need to pursue multilateral efforts to promote and improve human health and provide access to treatment and health-care Education.”

Not less than 5 million Nigerians live with diabetes.

World Diabetes Day gives opportunity to create awareness of diabetes being a global health issue, emphasizing what should be collectively and individually done in order to easily prevent, diagnose and manage the condition. UN Member States and relevant organizations are therefore saddled with the responsibility of appropriately observing World Diabetes Day, raising public awareness either through education or Mass Media. Observance of this international day also fosters the development of national policies to aid prevention, treatment and care of diabetes in Member States; in accordance with the Sustainable Development goals admissible in their health-care systems.

Additionally, diabetes Mellitus is an incurable disease with no racial, social or sex-related barrier. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is recorded as one of the countries currently suffering from a rising prevalence of diabetes mellitus. According to a recent meta-analysis report, almost 6 million Nigerian adults are living with diabetes. An estimation also reveals that two-thirds of diabetes cases in Nigeria are yet to be diagnosed. The risk factors associated with diabetes include lack of physical activity, unhealthy lifestyle, poor diet, obesity and many more.

A globally agreed target will end rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), over 400 million people across the globe have diabetes with a good number of them residing in low-and middle-income countries. Also, 1.5 million deaths, every year, is directly accounted to diabetes. The most common form is type 2 diabetes which is usually in adults and occurs due to resistance of the body to insulin or its inability to produce enough insulin; its prevalence in the past 3 decades has risen in countries of high-, middle- and low-income.

Furthermore, diabetes Mellitus leads to various kinds of diseases such as kidney failure, heart disease, blindness, lower-limb amputation and – according to recent research – hearing loss, dementia, and some forms of Cancer. Risk of death and aforementioned complications usually reduce quality of life, producing negative economic impact on individuals, nations and healthcare systems. However, a globally agreed target have been ensured to put an end to the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025 aside the Global Diabetes Compact launched by WHO in April 2021.

Global Diabetes Compact for prevention and care of diabetes.

In April 2021, World Health Organization launched a global initiative – Global Diabetes Compact – which aims at sustaining improvements in the prevention and care of diabetes, paying particular attention on supporting low- and middle-income countries. Also, the World Health Assembly, in May 2021, agreed on a Resolution to strengthen the prevention and control of diabetes, recommending an increase in access to insulin, promotion of convergence and harmonization of regulatory requirements for insulin and other health products for efficient treatment of diabetes. Earlier this year, in May 2022, the World Health Assembly endorsed five global diabetes coverage and treatment targets to be achieved by 2030.


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