Over $4.5 Billion Is Spent On Treating Diabetes In Nigeria Annually – NCDs

In a recent revelation, the coalition addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) disclosed that diabetes patients in Nigeria bear a significant financial burden, with annual healthcare costs averaging a staggering N300,000. This disclosure took place during an art exhibition held in Abuja to mark World Diabetes Day, emphasizing the pressing need for measures to mitigate the risks associated with the consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs).

World Diabetes Day, celebrated globally on November 14, serves as a platform to raise awareness about diabetes as a critical public health concern. This year’s theme, ‘Access to diabetes care,’ underscores the importance of collective and individual efforts for improved prevention, diagnosis, and management of the condition.

Speaking at the exhibition, Dr. Alkali Mohammed, President of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria, emphasized the pervasive impact of diabetes on various aspects of the body. He highlighted the predominantly out-of-pocket nature of healthcare payments in Nigeria and underscored the ripple effect on overall costs, given complications that can affect productivity and family dynamics.

Dr. Mohammed noted that globally, approximately 537 million people live with diabetes, and projections indicate a potential increase to 737 million by 2040 without effective intervention. In Nigeria, an estimated 11.2 million individuals grapple with diabetes, with over 90 percent classified as type 2 diabetes cases.

Advocating for policy changes, Dr. Mohammed urged an increase in the tax on SSBs from 10 percent to 20 percent. He argued that such a tax hike would not only discourage sugary drink consumption but also contribute to improving public health and generating revenue for the government. Expressing concerns about the current lack of transparency in the utilization of the existing 10 percent tax, he urged that a significant portion of the funds be dedicated to public enlightenment, prevention efforts, drug subsidies, and the inclusion of NCD patients in the health insurance scheme.

Dr. Adamu Umar, co-chairman of the coalition and President of the Nigerian Cancer Society, emphasized the underreporting of diabetes cases in Nigeria. He stressed the need for policymakers to take decisive action, increase awareness, and ensure the proper implementation of agreed-upon taxes to alleviate the burden on diabetes patients.

The NASR coalition, comprised of various health organizations, continues to advocate for policy measures aimed at reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which have been linked to the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and hypertension.


Ademola Adeyemi

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