The Nigerian government plans to equip primary healthcare centres across the country to screen and treat diabetes and hypertension.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, made this plan known on Monday while declaring open the 4th Pan- African Diabetic Foot Study Group Conference and the Advance Course on Diabetic Foot/Podiatry in Abuja.
According to a statement on Tuesday by the ministry’s spokesperson, Boade Akinola, the programme was organised by the Pan-African Diabetic Foot Study Group in collaboration with World Diabetes Foundation and Mark Anumah Medical Mission.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) data published in 2017 said about 10,864 died from hypertension in Nigeria, representing 0.53 per cent of total deaths.
The data also put recorded deaths from diabetes mellitus in the country the same year at 30,922, about 1.52 per cent of the total deaths.
Mr Adewole said government wants to ensure screening of diabetes goes beyond teaching hospitals, as having everyone going to tertiary hospitals was not helping the Nigerian health system.
He said government wants to mainstream screening and treatment of diabetes and hypertension in the PHCs.
“We are implementing the basic healthcare provision funds in PHC in this year’s budget, we want to offer care to Nigerians in the primary healthcare level, where the large number of the population received medical care,” he said.
Mr Adewole also explained that the government would conduct survey this year to determine the number of people affected with such diseases.
This he said, will enable government know how many people have the problem so that they can receive care appropriately.
In his remarks, the President of the Association of Reproductive Health, Oladipo Ladipo, said, Nigeria had the largest population in Africa and indirectly has the largest number of diabetic patients in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Mr Ladipo, who was the chairman of the occasion, said Nigerian doctors, nurses and orthopedic surgeons must work together to ensure the diabetic foot was reduced to the barest minimum.
He said more than 120 delegates converged from various parts of Africa to discuss way forward on diabetic foot /podiatry.
He emphasised that Nigeria must develop another way to manage non-communicable diseases.
In her presentation, chairperson of local organising committee, Felicia Anumah of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, said that diabetics had become pandemic.
“The disease is silent until it sets up complications and it has high economic cost and is difficult to manage when the case is presented late,” she said.
Mrs Anumah said about 50 per cent of the patients present their cases when the only option is amputation.
She urged Nigerians to always visit healthcare providers for checkup if there is any pain in the feet.