Leading health care professionals, including Prof. Dorothy Esangbedo, Prof. Babatope Kolawole, Prof. Adewale Oke and Dr Inousa Fiffen, have called for more proactive steps to curb diabetes in Nigeria.
The experts spoke at an event organised by Sanofi to introduce Insuman, its new insulin product, to the medical community.
In his welcome remarks at the event, held at Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Dr Inousa Fiffen, head of medical and regulatory, Sanofi Nigeria/Ghana, said it was important to ensure that there were more professionals working on diabetes because it was necessary to do more for diabetes prevention and management.
“We need to empower our general practitioners (GPs) that are seeing patients with this condition. We (Sanofi) are proud to say that we have a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) on this and we are strengthening our partnership with the government and all stakeholders.”
Dr Fiffen said Sanofi was meeting the challenge of diabetes in Africa with an integrated portfolio of therapeutic solutions.
He said the company was also supporting the management of the disease by opening 12 dedicated diabetes and hypertension clinics, in partnership with health authorities, adding that the first clinic was recently inaugurated at theLagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
He noted that, with the addition of Insuman to Sanofi’s range of antidiabetics, the company had become the only one providing a full range of both oral and injectable treatments for patients with diabetes in Nigeria.
The Insuman range allows for individualised treatment as it is available in both vials and cartridges, he said, adding that the Insuman cartridges help ensure a more accurate dosing and demonstrate Sanofi’s commitment to patients, improving access and ensuring availability to high-quality efficacious solutions to improve the management of diabetes patients. Insuman, he further added, is licensed in 90 countries and manufactured to the highest international standard.
Presenting a paper on diabetes in children, Dr Esangbedo, president, Union of National African Paediatric Societies and Associations (UNAPSA), said diabetes is a metabolic disorder of multiple aetiology and characterised by chronic hyperglycemia.
Diabetes, she said, had become a major non communicable disease with estimated 387 million sufferers worldwide, adding that the global economic burden of the disease was estimated to be 612 billion dollars.
Esangbedo said that even though diabetes in children was lower in Africa, there should be a lot of enlightenment for parents and individuals, as records had begun to show increase in the incidence of the disease on the continent.
According to Dr Esangbedo, signs parents should look out for to suspect diabetes in their children include frequent urination, frequent desire for water, frequent occurrence of skin infections, weight loss and the children feeling weak frequently.
She equally urged parents to be alert with children that have had gestational diabetes as it indicates that the child may have diabetes later on in life.
Also, speaking at the event, Prof. Babatope Kolawole, consultant physician/endocrinologist from Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, said diabetes is a major disease of the urban areas, adding that what people eat, drink and smoke are risk factors for the condition.
Diabetes, he said, is a complex and progressive disease requiring timely treatment escalation. Treatment in type 2 diabetes, he added, should also be individualised.
Prof. Wale Oke, chief medical director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), while speaking at the event equally urged diabetes patients to commence treatment for the management of the condition early, adding that most of the diabetes patients that come to LASUTH are brought in after their conditions must have deteriorated.
LASUTH, he said, is already doing a lot to help tame diabetes in Nigeria, adding that the hospital now has a diabetic clinic endowed by the Lions Club.