90 000 Namibians living with diabetes

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that about 90 000 Namibians are living with diabetes.

This was announced on World Diabetes Day observed yesterday under the theme ‘Access to Diabetes Care’ at Windhoek Central Hospital by the WHO officer in charge, Mary Brantuo.

“Diabetes ranks among the top-10 causes of death worldwide. Over 537 million adults aged 20 to 79 are living with diabetes, which is an over five-fold increase from 108 million in 1980.

“This number is predicted to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045,” she said.

Brantuo said the prevalence of diabetes has been rising more rapidly in low-and middle-income countries, and it is estimated that three in four adults with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries.

“Diabetes was responsible for 6,7 million deaths worldwide in 2021, which translates to one diabetes death every five seconds,” she said.

Brantuo said 24 million adults in the African region are living with diabetes, and these numbers are projected to increase to 55 million people by 2045.

“Diabetes was responsible for 416 000 deaths in Africa in 2021, and is predicted to be one of the leading causes of death in the region by 2030.”

She said these are concerning trends and called for immediate collective action.

“Diabetes prevention must be taken seriously by all. Adopting a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition rich in fruits and vegetables, being physically active, and not using any tobacco products and alcohol can massively reduce the risk of developing type two diabetes.

“Diabetes affects every part of the body, and if not correctly managed, people living with the disease can develop debilitating and life-threatening complications.

“This leads to an increased need for medical care, reduced quality of life, and premature death. This places a huge burden on affected individuals and their families,” Brantuo said.

She said many people living with diabetes in Africa have either never been diagnosed or are not able to access the medicines and technologies that could improve their condition.

Present at the event was the deputy minister of health and social services, Ester Muinjangue, who said the day creates an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of diabetes on people’s health.

“Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death among Namibians. This has devastating health and socio-economic consequences for individuals, families and communities,” she said.

Muinjangue said by increasing access to diabetes prevention and care, the government, through the Ministry of Health and Social Services, have rolled out diabetic screening programmes at all healthcare facilities across all regions.

“As a ministry, as healthcare workers, we have a role to encourage the public to be screened for diabetes and to encourage those on diabetes care to continue taking their medication.

“Screening and taking medication is not enough in controlling diabetes. Lifestyle adjustment is a must. Obesity, a lack of regular exercise, and the use of tobacco are examples of lifestyle factors that need to be changed.

“Being physically active, following the right diet, and reducing tobacco smoking could support the prevention of diabetes,” she said.

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