About 10 percent of the Ghanaian population is diabetic, president of the National Diabetes Association-Ghana (NDAG), Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, has said.
According to her, the prevalence of the disease continued to soar in the country and it was important that citizens take seriously the practice of regularly testing to know their sugar levels for prompt management and care.
The exercise is the first leg of a strategy rolled out by NDAG to screen at least 30,000 people of diabetes across all major markets in the country.
Marked every November 14, to coincide with the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922, the WDD is celebrated to draw attention to multi-stakeholder efforts to tackling diabetes as a public health issue.
The president of NDAG, who is the chairperson of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), West Africa, expressed concern over the fact that majority of Ghanaians especially the youth were diabetic but were oblivious of it contributing to the high disease burden and mortality rate in the country.
“Between 2020 and now, diabetes has killed more people than COVID-19 but there is a fund for COVID-19, there are policies and guidelines for treatment and management yet diabetes, which is the third leading chronic non-communicable disease in the country hasn’t got.
Diabetes care needs attention because it has been neglected over the years and the government must intervene to reduce the disease prevalence,” she stated.
Mrs Denyoh mentioned the need for the government to implement policies that allow for citizens to stay physically active like “creating bicycle lanes, clearing pedestrian walkways, directing institutions like the Ghana Education Service among others to enforce physical education periods.”
Making reference to this year’s WDD theme; “Education to protect tomorrow,” the NDAG president called for greater attention on children and the youth to ‘save’ them from suffering the condition.
“If we are going to protect the future, then we have to protect our youth and we can do so by teaching them to eat right, right exercising habits, we must go back to our previous lifestyle where we used to play ampe etc, so that they can have more exercises.
“Unfortunately we are doing a lot of major roads and interchanges but there are no lanes for cycling, pedestrian walkways have been taken over etc and we hope that in the nearest future these things are addressed so people cycle more, walk more to stay active,” she said.
Further appealing to the government to cap or subsidise prices of diabetes products in the face of present economic hardship, Mrs Denyoh advised persons with diabetes to stick religiously to their medication, visit the hospital regularly, exercise regularly, and adhere strictly to diets recommended by their physicians.
“Being diagnosed or knowing is 50 percent solved and if you know and understand diabetes, you should know that no herbal product will flush out the condition from your system so I will entreat people who have been diagnosed with diabetes to continue taking their medication as prescribed, exercise, eat right and test often to maintain their sugar level,” she urged.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH