The National President of Diabetes Association of Nigeria, DAN, Dr. Mohammed Alkali has said an alarming rate of about 10 million Nigerians are living with diabetes and disease still on the increase like wildfire. Dr. Alkali said the disease is in almost every household noting that two-thirds of the diabetic persons don’t know they are diabetic. The National President disclosed this while addressing newsmen shortly after inaugurating an eight (8) man members of Board of Trustees, (BoT) of its Katsina State chapter.
Dr. Alkali who doubles as the Chief Medical Director, CMD of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, however, warned against intake of increase processed food, fast food and sedentary which he said are leading causes of diabetes. According to him, “Diabetes is the leading non-communicable disease in the whole world. It is currently affecting over 430 million people, although we don’t have a verified national figure the current projection for Nigeria is that up to 10 million people are living with diabetes.
“And the most disturbing part of that is up-to two-thirds of those people are living with diabetes but do not even know they have the disease. Type two diabetes is about lifestyle and dietary habit. And that is why the World Health Organization, WHO is concerned in the sense that people should live an active life. Because things that promote the development of type two are a sedentary lifestyle. People don’t do activities and then the types of food where people take a lot of processed food and also fast foods. Those are the type of food that encourages the development of type two diabetes.
“The closer the food is to nature, the safer. What this means is increased processing lead to increase in the development of diabetes. If you take the orange or pineapple that is raw is healthier than when you take the processed one in a can where there are preservatives,” Dr. Alkali said. He called for the reintroduction of physical education to keep people active against diabetes. “Catch them young. In the past, in our primary and secondary schools, there is physical education. In fact, are not allowed to open schools unless they have a field for exercise and everything. But it is not the same now. And those things have to be restored so that you don’t live a sedentary lifestyle.
“On the part of DAN as the representative of Nigeria in the International Diabetes Federation, it is leading the campaign to enlighten people, to educate people and lead to screening so that people will know their status,” Dr. Alkali said. Similarly, the Guest Speaker at the event, Associate Professor Badamasi Lawal corroborated the Association’s President on the alarming and increasing the rate of the disease citing instances with a five years research conducted in Federal Medical Centre in Katsina which shows an increase from 65 patients in 2012 to 288 patients in 2017.
Associate Professor Lawal, however, called on the Federal government to partner traditional medicine practices council of Nigeria to find a genuine medicine to cure the diseases and on the other hand, provide free diabetes drugs to patients or provide drugs at a subsidized rate. The BoT Chairman, Alhaji Aminu Mamman D. however assured of its unrelenting efforts, readiness and commitment to serve in the new capacities.