The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has urged health partners to support the Federal Government’s efforts in tackling the menace of non-communicable, NCD diseases in Nigeria.
The Minister made this call while speaking at the World Diabetes Foundation Nigerian Partner and Stakeholders meeting with the theme: Diabetes and Non-Communicable Diseases in Nigeria – Perspectives, challenges and way forward, organized by the Federal Ministry of Health, World Diabetes Foundation, WDF and Strategies for Improving Diabetes Care in Nigeria, SIDAIN.
The minister, who was represented by the director, public health in the ministry, Evelyn Ngige, expressed his appreciation to partners who were working with the Federal Ministry of Health on diabetes care and prevention.
He urged more partners to come on board to fight against diabetes and other non- communicable diseases in Nigeria.
Mr. Adewole also appealed to all the partners to support the ministry to conduct a national survey so as to establish the current prevalence of NCDs for sound policy direction and planning in Nigeria.
He also announced that the Federal Ministry of Health had established 6 sickle cell reference centres in all the Federal Medical centres across the country.
These are Federal Medical Centers Ebute Meta, Lagos, Federal Medical Centre Keffi, Federal Medical Center Gombe, Federal Medical Center Yenagoa, Federal Medical Center Birnin-Kebbi and Federal Medical Center Abakaliki.
In his remarks on behalf of the Local Organizing Committee, Alebiosu C.O, said that Non- Communicable Diseases mainly diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, tuberculosis and cancer continued to pose major health challenges in the low and middle-income countries including Nigeria.
Mr. Alebiosu said that Nigeria with an estimated population of about 160 million people accounted for 4 million people with diabetes.
He added that more worrisome than the number of people with diabetes was the number of those who remained undiagnosed or untreated which he pegged at 70% – 80% of the 4 million people with diabetes.
He said diabetes undoubtedly has changed the landscape of health care in Nigeria over the decades.
“We expressed concerned about the growing crisis of diabetes, hypertension and other NCDs in Nigeria,” he said.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin or use it and is diagnosed by observing raised levels of glucose in the blood. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas; it is required to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cell where it is used as energy.
The most common diabetes symptoms include frequent urination, intense thirst and hunger, un usual weight loss, fatigue, cut and bruises that do not heal among others.