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Diabetes cost to reach $59m per year in sub-Saharan Africa

A new study suggests the cost of diabetes burden in sub-Saharan Africa  could more than double, costing the region up to $59.3 million a year…

A new study suggests the cost of diabetes burden in sub-Saharan Africa  could more than double, costing the region up to $59.3 million a year by 2030, if type 2 diabetes cases continues to grow.

The study proposes diabetes—and its complications—could potentially reverse health gains seen in the region in recent years.

It would overwhelm health systems and crippling personal finances of patients as they continue to pay for their own healthcare.

Only one in two people with diabetes know they have the condition, and just one in 10 of them receive drugs they need.

The report of the study, Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Commission on diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa is expected launched on Thursday in London.

In 2015, diabetes cost the region’s economy $19.5 billion—equivalent to 1.2% of gross domestic product.

Countries in the region spend up to 5.5% of their GDP on health. More than half the spending, around $10.8 billion, was on access to diabetes treatment—and half the total cost was paid by patients.

The other economic costs came from loss in productivity: early deaths shaved $7.9 billion off the region’s ecnomy; people leaving the workforce early cost $500 million; sick leaves took away $200m and lower productivity due to poor health cost $70m.

Rifat Atun, lead author on the report and a professor at Harvard University, USA, said, “These estimates show the vast economic burden that diabetes places on sub-Saharan Africa, and should motivate policy makers to increase resources and efforts to overcome this looming health challenge.”

“Our figures illustrate the economic cost of inaction,” she added.

“However, the wider cost of inaction is the risk of losing ground on some of the region’s biggest health achievements of the past few decades, as diabetes cases further increase and costs spiral. In its current state, sub-Saharan Africa is not at all prepared for the increasing burden of diabetes caused by rapid, ongoing societal transitions.”


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