Diabetes now major problem in Africa: report

Diabetes has increased in Africa between 1990 and 2015 due to rapid development and urbanisation, seen as a boon among economists, but now has health experts worried for the future.

Mauritius leads the pack of countries with a high diabetes prevalence rate of 17per cent, which is two to five times greater than rates in the other African countries according to a report released today by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

The report is one of the agenda of the Pan-African convention that begins today morning in Nairobi that will discuss innovative ways to address the disease that affects nearly one million Kenyans with adverse complications such as organ failure.

Diabetes is seen as one cause of disability that greatly affects the future development and the use of resources of African states. This is because a diabetes patient requires three times more health resources than a non-diabetic, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

The meeting is convened by Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company, in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

The report also discusses how development is also contributing to cardiovascular diseases that affect younger people and women in sub-Saharan Africa at disproportionate rates relative to other world regions.

On this front, Lesotho recorded the third fastest rate between 1990 and 2015. But countries such as Burundi were seen to be managing the cardiovascular disease burden in the world, at 3.6 per cent, in the same time frame.

The two non-communicable diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, lead to premature mortality and needed to be reduced by one-third according to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Also at the morning meeting, Novo Nordisk is expected to announce the expansion of its initiative – Base of Pyramid project – that will now scaling-up efforts to improve access to insulin and diabetes care for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and cannot afford healthcare.

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