With a burgeoning middle-class that is inactive and increasingly consuming foods high in sugar content, there is a rapid rise in the number of diabetic patients in the sub-Saharan region.
It is now estimated that diabetes is one of the leading non-communicable diseases (NCD) accounting for 40 percent of deaths in Kenya annually; as the country continues to consume more sugar than most African countries, adopt an inactive lifestyle and ignore medical screening.
These grim statistics have nudged more than 100 doctors from the sub-Saharan region to converge in Kenya to explore innovative treatment for better management and control of Diabetes, a condition that is rapidly snowballing into an epidemic.
With the nation’s growing embrace of sedentary lifestyles, statistics from the Ministry of Health now indicate that between 650,000 and 1.5 million Kenyans are undiagnosed with the disease. Though the disease causes irreversible ailments such as kidney failure, loss of limbs, comas and a litany of other life-threatening complications, awareness on Diabetes prevention and treatment remains low, with majority of Kenyans shunning medical tests.
Speaking when he announced the forthcoming Middle Africa Premix Summit on 8th of October to be hosted by Novo Nordisk, Venkat Kalyan, the General Manager of the global healthcare company Middle Africa operations, said the organisation aims to raise standard care for diabetes patients through high level education delivered by world class experts. “Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of undiagnosed diabetes. Today over two thirds (66.7 per cent) of people with diabetes are unaware they have the disease,” said Mr. Kalyan.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), it is estimated that 14.2 million adults aged 20-79 have diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa. A report indicates that diabetic patients require up to triple the healthcare resources compared to non-diabetics. The disease thus threatens Kenya’s healthcare system and the wider economy with loss of productive workforce.
“Indeed, late stage complications are the most costly to treat and can impact the financial situation of an entire family as well as halting overall economic development through preventing people go to work and being part of the society,” Mr. Kalyan.
The Pre-mix Summit, he added, was part of Novo Nordisk’s continuous effort to update key experts in sub-Saharan Africa on innovative treatment options for the better management and control of diabetes. The Summit, which is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, is bringing together 90 key experts from over 10 countries in Africa including Nigeria, Senegal, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mauritius.