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Diabetes Can be Managed, but People Need Medication

The burden of diabetes is increasing globally. There are about half a billion people in the world living with the disease. In sub-Saharan Africa, 23 million people had diabetes in 2021. This number is expected to increase to 33 million by 2030 and 55 million by 2045.

As part of its 2013-2020 Global Action Plan the World Health Organisation set targets for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases. It said essential medicines and basic technologies should be at least 80% available in public or private healthcare facilities. For diabetes, these medicines include insulin and oral agents that reduce blood sugar. There should also be medicines like aspirin and statins that reduce the risk of related heart diseases. The technology includes glucometers (for testing blood sugar) and test strips for urine protein and ketones.

Sub-Saharan Africa faces the dual burden of communicable and noncommunicable diseases straining countries' health resources and fragile health systems. Access to essential medicines and diagnostic tests remains a challenge in the region. Public health facilities are faced with frequent stock-outs of medicines and patients often pay for medicines themselves writes Richard E. Sanya for The Conversation.

Currently, diabetes has no cure. But it can be controlled using medicines, diet, and lifestyle modification.

InFocus

A diabetes test at a World Diabetes Day event in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa (file photo).

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