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Africa’s diabetes statistics illustrate the depth of the challenge; 24 million adults are currently living with diabetes, with that number predicted to swell by 129% to 55 million by 2045.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Ghana, Mr. Francis Kasolo disclosed this in a statement read on his behalf by Dr. Elizabeth Juma at Ghana’s commemoration of the 2022 World Diabetes Day, organised by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service, said diabetes mellitus took the lives of 416,000 people on the continent and is forecast to become one of the leading causes of death in Africa by 2030.

Mr. Kasolo said Diabetes is the only major non-communicable disease for which the risk of dying early is increasing, rather than decreasing.

He said epidemiological trends were reflected in Ghana as Type-2 Diabetes affected approximately six percent of adults, a percentage that is expected to rise.

The WHO Representative said the known factors include family history and increasing age, along with modifiable risk factors such as overweight and obesity, sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, smoking and alcohol abuse.

The commemoration was aimed at raising awareness of the growing burden of diabetes and strategies to prevent and manage the threat on the theme: “Access to Diabetes Education”.

Hon. Tina Mensah, Deputy Minister for Health who launched the commemoration, said the increase in Ghana’s population growth with increasing life expectancy, rapid urbanization and adoption of a sedentary lifestyle over the past few decades, has played a vital role in the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases including diabetes.

She said studies conducted in Ghana estimate the prevalence of diabetes to be between 2.6% – 9%. Ghana Health Service records an average of 200,000 cases of diabetes reported to health facilities annually.

“Although the direct cost care is covered by National Health Insurance, extra costs in terms of nutritional support are borne by the patient, his/her families and/or provides through out-of-pocket payments” she added.

Hon. Tina called on health development partners to join hands with the government to control the rate of Diabetes infection in Ghana.

Dr. Efua Commeh, Acting Programme Manager, Non-communicable Diseases, Ghana Health Service, said Diabetes affected a significant number of children, many of whom were not recognised.

“Children with this condition will live with it for a very long time and it will affect productivity. Moreover, there are many who walk around with the condition without knowing about it,” she noted.

Dr. Commeh said Ghana Health Service records over 200,000 cases at Out Patient Department of health facilities annually and diabetes is now number seven in Ghana.

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