As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2019 World Population Day on July 11, the Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Group (DICOMAG), a media-based Non-Governmental Organization, formed by a group of Nigerian journalists to assist the country in the control of diabetes, has expressed concern over the growing population of people living with diabetes worldwide, especially in Nigeria.
In a statement signed by the Trustee Chairperson of the organisation, Dr. Afoke Isiavwe, DICOMAG said diabetes could become a serious threat to the nation’s population in the next few years if urgent steps are not taken to address it’s growing spread.
The organisation noted that the steady increase of global population, which stands at approximately 7.7 billion people, has made diabetes, also increasing at an alarming rate, a major health issue that should be in focus as the world Population Day is observed.
“Currently, no fewer than 425 million live with diabetes worldwide. In Nigeria, it is estimated that nearly 4 per cent – 11 per cent of the Nigerian population, about 4 million people, live with the condition.
“The prevalence is however higher than figures often quoted because it is known that nearly half of all people with diabetes don’t know they have it, thus missing the opportunity for early detection and necessary treatment needed to reduce the dangerous complications often associated with diabetes.
“It is also known that 80 per cent of type 2 diabetes mostly suffered by adults could be prevented while 70 percent of deaths among adults are largely due to behavior initiated during adolescence.
“The major aim of the World Population Day is to focus attention on the consequence of population issues and how it affects overall development plans and programs. In particular, this year’s edition calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development thus stressing the need for leaders, policymakers, grassroots organizers, institutions and individuals to help make reproductive health and rights a reality for all.
“DICOMAG however believes that with its alarming increase in all parts of Nigeria, like elsewhere in the world, diabetes may soon become a population issue if urgent steps are not taking to address the current unacceptable high burden of the disease.
“We therefore call on governments at all levels to step up measures towards the control of diabetes in the country.
“Such steps should include adoption of preventive measures such as public screening for early signs of diabetes, public enlightenment, effective control measures such as scientific guidelines for diabetes treatment and prevention, access to medications and test kits for people living with the condition, among others,” Dr. Isiavwe said.