More than 800 children were diagnose with diabetes in 2021 at the three major hospitals, Korle-Bu, Okomfo Anokye and the Cape Coast teaching hospitals in the country.
Diabetes occurs when a person either does not make enough insulin or cannot use his or her own insulin well.
The Acting Programme Manager, Non Communicable Diseases, (NCD),), Dr Efua Commeh, who revealed this to the Ghanaian Times in an interview expressed worry that the figure would escalate when her outfit receives the overall national statistics of the ailment.
Though she said some children were born with type one diabetes, others develop the type two through unhealthy lifestyle.
She said even though type one were born with it, certain lifestyle such as alcohol, smoking high sugar intake could trigger it early “the rate at which children, especially teenagers are being diagnosed of diabetes in the country is alarming, parents need to be on the guard and ensure they take moves to protect their wards,” he added.
According to Dr Commeh her the high intake of sugary beverages by children these days is a contributing factor to the menace, adding that it had now become a norm that school children are given snack packs which include sweets on a daily basis.
“In the past sweet beverages were taken during special occasions but now it is not so, children take sweets throughout the week and this is very serious, because they destroy the pancreas and the cells producing the insulin,” she said
Dr Commeh mentioned that the body has enough sugar due to carbohydrate intake, therefore there was no need for additional sugar from such beverages, “we have so much sugar in our system that we do not need table sugar“.
She advised parents to include more fruits and vegetables in the diet of their children and frequent of their blood sugar to safeguard the situation.
Dr Commeh uncontrolled diabetes could result in serious health complications such as kidney failure, blindness, heart diseases and amputation of the leg.
She said seven to 10 per cent of Ghanaian population has been found to have diabetes, adding that over 200,000 cases of the disease were recorded by the Ghana Health Service last year across the country.
She called on the public to exercise regularly to control weight gain, adopt healthy lifestyle and visit health facilities to check their sugar levels in order to control or prevent diabetes.
“For people who have been diagnosed as diabetic, it is important that every year at least they go to check their eyes, examine their feet for any sores and take their medicine regularly,“ she said.
BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG