By G9ija

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2021 World Diabetes Day, WDD, the Federal government has been charged to implement n policies that would put the care and management of diabetes on the front burner in the country in the interest of millions of Nigerians living with the disease.

Making the call in a statement, the Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Initiative (DICOMA) expressed  lamented that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, people living with diabetes are among the worst hit by the current inflation in the country as many no longer  follow necessary guidelines and routines to keep the disease in check. 

The statement signed by the DICOMA’s trustee Chairperson, Dr. Afoke Isiavwe, and the Director of Communication Mrs. Yinka Shokunbi, called for more proactive approaches and policies towards stemming  diabetes in Nigeria.

“Children living with diabetes  that must be on regular insulin injection are also badly affected 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 percent 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 says diabetes affects five million Nigerians and  increasing very fast. 

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

“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 fors effective management and control.

“DICOMA 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. 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. 

 “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 drasticallyreducethe cost of anti-diabetes drugs and devices through zero import tariff and encouragement of their local production

“Government should also 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, and increase awareness for diabetes education and enlightenment.”

The group calls on state governments to commence immediate campaign for diabetes prevention and control, beginning from the 2021 WDD, noting that 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 assist the general public in recognising the signs and symptoms of the condition and the available preventing options.