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Initiative to tackle diabetes, mental health unveiled

An initiative to tackle diabetes and mental health issues has been launched in Lagos with a focus on empowerment, awareness, prevention and management of the…

An initiative to tackle diabetes and mental health issues has been launched in Lagos with a focus on empowerment, awareness, prevention and management of the diseases.

Under the auspices of Oni na Foundation (love of a mother), the initiative will galvanise research on diabetes care and treatment including assessing the efficacy of some herbal treatment for the chronic disease.

Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose) with common types such as Type 2 diabetes and Type 1.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose. Hyperglycaemia, also called raised blood glucose or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Moved by the loss of loved ones due to Diabetes, the founder of the foundation, Israel Onoriode, a UK based music artist, said there is absence of data and research on diabetes even as he said there is very strong correlation between diabetes and mental health.

He said, “Oni na Foundation was born out of the struggle of a mother and an entire family suffering from the pain of seeing a member of her family go through constant fear and uncertainty that these conditions can bring about. This initiative is basically going to look at enlightenment programmes of both spiritual, social and medical implications and ways of helping individuals / communities to prevent or manage the pains of these diseases.”

According to him, millions of people worldwide live with diabetes, a chronic condition that significantly impacts both physical and mental health.

He said, “Studies show a strong correlation between diabetes and mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

“Against popular beliefs that traditional healthcare systems often lack integrity, leaving individuals struggling to manage both conditions effectively, we think that it would be worth researching and perfecting even as we believe the West is always using these methods to perfect their remedies and drugs.

“Notwithstanding, Oni na Foundation intends to give equal attention to both challenges as they deserve.”

He said the foundation would work with the government in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as other institutions and organisations to find effective cures for the diseases.

“For the treatment of diabetes, insulin and so on don’t really do much to help. Some of these drugs only hold individuals. It doesn’t really give the (treatment). My late sister, who had Type 1, had her pancreas shrink to a level where it became a problem and she got pancreatic cancer which now led to her death because we kept bombarding her system with insulin and it wasn’t doing so much to help.

“In this part of the world, we don’t consider research and data to improve. So because of that we had different people suggesting different things. Now I can assure you that most of our herbs and things that people talk about can help.

“Type 2 can be managed, Type 1 is really difficult to manage. Because of that we have had to try many things. And I have realised that some of these ingredients, because we don’t have that ability to keep data and all that, the West do that and that is why they are ahead of us.”

As part of the programmes of the foundation, he said there would be individual and group therapy for managing stress, anxiety, and depression; diabetes education and self-management workshops; Nutritional Counselling tailored to both diabetes and mental health needs; Support groups for individuals living with either or both conditions; Public education and awareness campaigns.

“We would be championing policies that improve access to affordable care, medication, and essential resources for diabetes management.

“We invite individuals, healthcare professionals, community organizations, and concerned citizens to join us in our mission,” Onoriode added.

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