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SGF, Minister, WHO want collective actions against diabetes

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole and World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Dr. Rui…

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole and World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Dr. Rui Gama Vaz have called for collective actions against the rising diabetes scourge in the country.

They made the call Thursday in Abuja at the flag off of health screening exercise for workers to commemorate this year’s World Health Day with the theme "Beat Diabetes Mellitus" held at the SGF office.

The SGF said 2.8 percent of Nigerian adults are living with diabetes and that experts have warned that there would be increase except citizens adopt healthy lifestyle that can limit the effects of the disease.

"Diabetes is a disease that can be managed if detected early. Therefore regular exercise is very important. We also know that it can be avoided if we take adequate interest in the types of food we eat. This awareness exercise is extended to other killer diseases namely: hypertension, cervical cancer and obesity," Lawal said.

The WHO chief on his part said people living with diabetes have nearly quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries indluding African countries.

It has risen from four million to 25 million during the same period.

"In 2012 alone diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths globally. Its complication can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. The sharp rise is a result of rapid uncontrolled urbanisation, globalisation and major changes in lifestyle with resultant increase in the prevalent of the lifestyle risk factors. Diabetes imposes a substantial public health and socio-economic burden in the face of scarce resources," Vaz said.

The Minister of Health said though the aim of the 2016 world health day is to scale up diabetes prevention efforts, strengthen the pathway for care delivery and enhance surveillance, it  should not be detached from broader health system goals.

"According to the WHO 24 percent of illness related deaths in Nigeria is now caused by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) with diabetes accounting for two percent of this. Diabetes is increasingly becoming an epidemic especially among adolescent and young adults, partly due to the rapid socio-cultural change being experience, and the adoption of unhealthy lifestyle and risky behaviours," Adewole said.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to learn and identify the risk factors and avoid them while those already infected with the disease should take their medications and other prescribed medical measures.

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