Over Four million Nigerians are living with diabetes mellitus unknowingly.
A consultant Endocrinology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Professor Sunny Chinenye stated this in Abuja at a stakeholders meeting on Diabetes, organized by a private pharmaceutical company in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.
According to Professor Chinenye, Diabetes is one of the major leading causes of death among the non-communicable diseases in the world.
He explained that in Nigeria, about 11.2 million people are living with the disease caused by unhealthy diets, age, and high blood pressure noting that about 40 percent of the number were still undetected.
In a paper entitled “addressing type 1 diabetes in Nigeria; the changing diabetes in children program’’, the President, Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinologists in Nigeria, SPAEN, Professor Abiola Oduwole stressed the need for proper management of infants and children with diabetes.
“any child with diabetes should not die. knowing fully well that you don’t know the potential of this child, maybe this child is supposed to live to the age of 90 years, there is no reason why a diabetic child cannot be President of this country”
The Deputy Director, Non-communicable Diseases, in the Ministry of Health, Dr Alayo Sopekan, who noted that the ministry will be commencing a community-based survey on the disease next month, urged Nigerians to know their diabetes status for proper and early treatment.
The Head, Business Unit, English and West Africa of the Private organization, Mr Jude Abonu, outlined some of the health interventions by the organization to include free diabetes treatment for children across the country, training of health workers and diabetic patients on how to live with the ailment.
Mr Abonu however said prevention was still the best option against diabetes.
By EMMANUEL KUTARA