As Nigeria marks the 2016 World Health Day today, the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has disclosed that at least 15.6 million Nigerians suffer diabetes, with a total of 40,000 diabetes related deaths in 2015, indicating a high prevalence of the disease in the country in recent times.
In a press release signed by the national president of the NMA, Dr. Kayode Obembe, and sent to Nigerian Pilot yesterday in Abuja to mark the event in the country, the association further noted that with the national prevalence of 1.9 percent patients spend up to N53,000 annually for treatment of the disease.
According to the release, the NMA further noted that “despite the forewarning by epidemiologists of the ‘epidemic’ of non-communicable diseases of which diabetes and obesity are front runners, and the flag-off of a nationwide campaign for healthy living and periodic medical check-ups in 2013 by the NMA, not much has been done to chart a national response to Halt the Rise of Diabetes.”
The association noted that the aim on WHD was to increase awareness about the rising prevalence of diabetes and its confounding burden and implications, especially in low and middle income countries, initiate and scale up a set of specific, effective and affordable activities to tackle the scourge of diabetes, including steps to prevent diabetes and diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes.
The NMA noted that, “Diabetes is not just a medical issue but one with a huge multi-sectoral and socioeconomic dimension and severe burden on the health system and national economy, through direct medical expenditures and loss of man hours and wages.”
It therefore called on the federal government as a signatory to the declaration on the prevention and control of NCDs and SDGs 2016-2030, to implement the Global Action Plan to halt the rise of diabetes and obesity by 2025, and to declare a national consciousness day for health awareness and medical check-ups for all Nigerians.
The consciousness, it said, should include ideals of healthy living such as consumption of healthy diets, regular physical exercises, good environmental sanitation and personal hygiene practices, campaign for drug abuse, etc.
It also called on government to advance the universal health coverage through the NHIS coverage and implementation of the National Health Act 2014.
The association called on government to harness the contributions of all stakeholders – professional associations, civil society, the private sector, and inter-governmental agencies – towards making treatment, care and support for diabetes accessible and affordable for patients, as it promised to offer a large scale community screening for diabetes and related ailments at the forthcoming annual general conference/delegates meeting in Sokoto State.

90 deaths in cholera, Lassa fever outbreak
Ebonyi State government has confirmed that a total of 90 persons had so far been lost to cholera and Lassa fever epidemics in the state in the past five months.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezurike disclosed this while briefing journalists on Wednesday on the activities of the ministry within the period.
Dr Umezurike said the disease recured on regular basis in the dry season.
He explained that while cholera epidemic that ravaged the state killed 76 persons, affected 38 communities and 11 local governments of the state, 14 died of Lassa fever in the last five months.
He lamented that out of the six confirmed cases of Lassa fever, four persons were lost while out of the 77 unconfirmed cases, 10 were lost, making a total of 14 persons lost to Lassa fever recently.
The commissioner added that the state recorded a total number of 83 patients both suspected and confirmed within the period.
He announced that the state government had approved the completing, upgrading, renovation and reconstruction of 13 general hospitals in senatorial zones of the state.
According to him, the governor has mandated the ministry to upgrade 171 primary health centres starting with 65 at five per LGA and to ensure the construction of the state drug distribution centres.
Also, part of the approval from the governor, according to him, is the procurement of Cerumo cell harvester machine worth N10 million.

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