The incidence of diabetes is high and growing in the African Region and governments need to take quick remedial action to check the killer disease, Dr Luis Sambo, Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), has warned.
“Diabetes is no longer rare in Africa as estimates and recent investigation indicates a prevalence of between 1% and 2%,” Dr Sambo told delegates attending the 57th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, which ended on Friday in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
According to reports transmitted by the WHO Country Office, the Regional Director, on Tuesday, presented a strategy, developed by WHO Regional Office for Africa, to reduce the burden of diabetes-related morbidity and mortality and its associated risk factors.
In order to better prevent and control diabetes in the region, Dr Sambo proposed the following priority interventions: Creation of conditions that enhance advocacy and action for diabetes; prevention of diabetes and its associated risk factors targeted screening of people at risk for early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and its complications; building and strengthening the capacity of the health workforce; reorganization of health care to focus on patients, families and communities; and support for operational research to control and prevent diabetes.
Dr Sambo then added: “Diabetes represents a real and growing health problem in the region. Sustained commitment from the authorities would increase the ability to cope with the dual challenge of prevention and treatment on the one hand and, on the other, the lethal burden of complications, particularly cardiovascular disease.”
“Multidisciplinary and multisectoral and integrated approaches are indispensable to the prevention and control of diabetes. In Africa, more than elsewhere, they constitute the cornerstone of interventions which should focus on the patient and the community, within the framework of primary health care,” he propounded.