Today is World Diabetes Day. The latest figures from International Diabetes Federation (IDF) confirm that diabetes is on the increase in all countries but that we have solutions to challenge the disease. World Diabetes Day is part of the response to the diabetes pandemic and the chance to raise awareness in unison with communities all over the world. In 2003, the International Diabetes Federation estimated that approximately 194 million people around the world had diabetes. By 2025 this figure is expected to rise to 333 million, amounting to 6.3% of the world’s population living with diabetes.

The African continent counts approximately 13.6 million people with diabetes. Sub-Saharan Africa counts approximately 7 million people with diabetes. Estimates for the region for 2025 are likely to double and reach 15 million. The WHO suggests that Nigeria has the greatest number of people living with diabetes in Africa, with an estimated burden of about 1.7 million which will increase to 4.8 million by 2030. The economic burden of diabetes is enormous in terms of the direct cost of intensive monitoring and control of blood glucose and managing cardiovascular, renal, and neurological consequences.

The progressive increase in the prevalence rates of Diabetes is generally attributed to lifestyle changes; overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, dietary changes and cigarette smoking- factors that are potentially modifiable.

This is why SpringAidIntlD in its health promotion advocacy is calling on all Nigerians to take this threat seriously before it reaches pandemic level through developing platforms and strategies for preventing and handling this threat to the nation's health.

SpringAid International, Nigeria
Oluchi Nwoko, Reg Nurse