World Diabetes Day: DICOMA-I expresses concern over rising cost of drugs, devices  

 World Diabetes Day: DICOMA-I expresses concern over rising cost of drugs, devices  

  • says many patients can no longer control their condition

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2021 World Diabetes Day (WDD) on November 14, a non-governmental organization, Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Initiative (DICOMA-I) has expressed grave concern over the plight of Nigerians living with diabetes, saying a significant number can no longer control their condition because of high cost of drugs and monitoring devices.

In a Press Release signed by the trustee Chairperson of the organisation Dr. Afoke Isiavwe, and the Director of Communication Mrs. Yinka Shokunbi, DICOMA-I said people living with diabetes are among the worst hit by the current inflation in the country as many are unable to take their medications or follow necessary guidelines and routines to keep the disease in check. The Covid 19 Pandemic and the attendant disruption it created, have also contributed negatively to this, as many bread winners lost jobs with the economic downturn.

“The forthcoming WDD no doubt offers a great opportunity to alert the government and public that the scourge of diabetes is attaining a dangerous dimension in the country as many people can no longer afford their medications and routines to effectively control their condition. Children living with diabetes most of whom must be on regular insulin injection are also badly affected by the situation as many parents either reduce doses or stop administering injections as the cost of insulin, a vital component of diabetes management has risen by over 40% in the last six months. A vial of insulin now costs between N6000 and N12,000 in different parts of the country.”

Citing figures from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) DICOMA-I says while more than 463 million adults (1 in 11) are currently living with diabetes globally, the disease affects no fewer than 5 million Nigerians and like elsewhere in the world the number of cases is increasing very fast. Also, one in every two people with diabetes in the country is undiagnosed, which means that the current estimated number of cases could be double or even more.

“Nigeria must avoid this looming disaster and act fast to assist people currently living with the disease. Remember, a poorly controlled diabetes population epidemic equals diabetes complications epidemic”

“IDF describes diabetes mellitus as one of the largest global health emergencies of the 21st century, largely because of its severe and deadly consequences. This is a disease that affects virtually all organs of the body, resulting in loss of vision, dental problem, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, lower limb amputation, sexual dysfunction, among others, when not properly controlled. Sadly this is the situation many Nigerians living with diabetes are facing today.”

Dr. Afoke Isiavwe
Chair, DICOMA-I Board of Trustee

“World Diabetes Day is marked worldwide to focus attention on diabetes because of its dire consequences on human health. The theme for this year till 2023 is: ‘Access to diabetes Care – If Not Now, When?’ This is to raise awareness on the impact of diabetes on the populace and the need for its effective management and control.

“DICOMA-I  aligns itself with this theme, especially now that the cost of drugs and monitoring devices have gone far beyond the reach of the average person in the country that is living with diabetes. We believe this year’s WDD should not be about speeches and other forms of social gatherings alone. The country must make conscious efforts to address the plight of people living with diabetes. It is time to review our policies and as a matter of urgency, introduce measures aimed at alleviating the plight of Nigerians suffering from diabetes.”

The organisation noted that while the rapid increase of diabetes cases is a global phenomenon, especially in the developing countries, the difference however, is that most countries are now working relentlessly to ensure it does not become a major epidemic but Nigeria seems to be sitting on the fence with poor implementation of measures or policies to  curtail the rapid spread.

“While countries like Cameroun now provide insulin free of charge to children and other countries in Africa have adopted policies to assist citizens to achieve control of the condition, Nigeria seems to have left people living with diabetes to their fate.

 “We therefore call on the Federal and State governments to seize the golden opportunity offered by WDD events to introduce measures towards addressing the plight of Nigerians living with diabetes.  To this end we call on the government to, as a matter of urgency:

  • Introduce policy and measures to drastically reduce the cost of anti-diabetes drugs and devices through zero import tariff and encouragement of their local production
  • Provide free or subsidised insulin for children and the elderly
  • Implement some of the already existing policies and guidelines for the management of diabetes in Nigeria
  • Increase awareness for diabetes education and enlightenment. To this end, DICOMA-I calls on state governments, to commence immediate campaign for diabetes prevention and control, beginning from the 2021 WDD.
  • Healthcare providers and other stakeholders should also intensify their efforts in screening for diabetes and providing adequate information to assist people living with diabetes on the basic management of the disease, and also assist the general public in recognizing the signs and symptoms of the condition and the available preventing options.

 

 

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