The Minister for Health, Mr. Alex Segbefia, has disclosed that about four million Ghanaians are suffering from diabetes, threatening the health of some people.
The minister, who was speaking at the commemoration of World Diabetes Day, held at Ada on Monday, on the theme: “Eyes on diabetes”, said about five thousand people died of the disease last year.
Mr. Segbefia said that years ago, diabetic patients were older people. However, currently, persons below adolescent age, were being diagnosed of the disease.
He blamed the development on the lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, overweight and obesity among others, and advised all persons to visit health centres regularly for screening for the disease, cultivate healthy habits and exercise regularly.
The minister commended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for assisting in the screening of 34,000 people in Ada, and assured that government was committed to preventing diabetes.
The President for the National Diabetics Association, Mrs. Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, said the occurrence of the disease should be considered as a national emergency.
She revealed that according to research, only ten per cent of diabetic cases were diagnosed early for medical care while 90 per cent of the people are diagnosed when it was late.
Mrs. Denyoh said diabetes, which was a chronic condition, could result in other health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, damage to limbs (amputations), stroke, impotence, and eye disease that could lead to blindness.
She asked the government to put measures in place to control the influx of substandard medicines into the country because they are life threatening.
The Member of Parliament for the Ada East Constituency, Ms. Comfort Cudjoe-Ghansah, pledged to support people living with diabetes.
A representative of the Young Diabetes Association, Ms. Abigail Boison, advised people diagnosed of diabetes to visit the hospital regularly and to take exercises and good eating habits seriously.
The National Public Affairs Director for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Mr. Philip Kwame Weah Xaxagbe, said the church had screened students for diabetes to enable them to know their status and go for treatment on time.
The Country Officer for the World Health Organisation, Ms. Joana Ansong, urged people to take their health seriously and to look out for possible signs and symptoms of diabetes to ensure early treatment.
The disease is a condition that is caused by the body’s inability to utilise sugar, leading to a build-up of sugar in the blood stream.
Caption: Mr Segbefia (first from left) interacting with participants, including Mrs Denyoh, Mr Xaxagbe and Dr Philp Narh, Medical Suprerintendent of Ada East District Hospital.
From Dzifa Tetteh, Ada