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Sanofi, others tackle diabetes burden in Nigeria

Experts in endocrinologists amongst others in the management of diabetes around the world will tomorrow converge in Lagos for the second edition of the Diabetes Summit of a global biopharmaceutical healthcare company focused on human health, Sanofi.

The Sanofi Diabetes Summit billed to hold at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos debuted in 2017 had in attendance public and private healthcare practitioners and other stakeholders from Cameroun, Ghana and Nigeria.

Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting millions of people in sub-Sahara Africa. In Nigeria, its rising prevalence is a public health concern. Many people remain undiagnosed while many diagnosed do not achieve proper control. Effective management of diabetes is a full continuum of care requiring proper education and close collaboration among healthcare practitioners, the patient and other caregivers.

Briefing journalists in Lagos on the programme, the General Manager of Sanofi-Aventis Nigeria Ltd, Pharm Folake Odediran, said the Summit was designed to support the efforts of stakeholders to curb the menace of diabetes in the country.

“Our desire is to empower life. Our purpose is to understand the health care needs of the people in places where we serve and to help solve them. What Sanofi is doing with the diabetes Summit is to support the efforts of the stakeholders.

“Our expectation is that the Summit provides an opportunity for health care practitioners to rub minds together. We also have the expectation that the Summit provides an opportunity for varying stakeholders in the management of this chronic condition to come together to chat a way forward regarding how to curb this menace and to reduce both its morbidity and mortality,”she said.

Explaining the objectives of the Summit, Medical Director, Sanofi-Aventis Nigeria Ltd, Dr. Philip Ikeme explained that the theme for this year’s Summit “personalizing Diabetes Care” was in line with the International Diabetes Federation’s World Diabetes Day which emphasizes the role of the family in diabetes care. What we aim to achieve in the Summit is to bring the family together in the care of the patient.”

He noted that Sub-Sahara Africa has the fastest growing rate of diabetes with Nigeria, having a prevalence rate between 3 to 5 percent.

“We also have the growing number of patients who do not have overt diabetes – people who are known to have impaired glucose tolerance – so if you look at the numbers, the thinking is that we have about 1.7 million diabetics in Nigeria…if you look at the number of people with impaired glucose tolerance the number will go much higher so you are looking at the number of over 7 million which means that the number of people who have the potential to become diabetic is huge.

“We also have a huge burden of people who are not diagnosed as much as we know there are a significant number of people who are diabetic.”

He explained that effective control and management of diabetes requires the empowerment of the general public, policy makers, healthcare practitioners, patients and all support groups. The health sector has many players and effective collaboration is critical to achieving our common goals.

“That is why we are bringing everyone together to share best practices and seek innovative ways for continually improving disease management,” Ikeme said.

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