The National President of Diabetics Association of Nigeria (DAN), Mohammed Alkali, has said the number of people living with diabetes in Nigeria is between 5 million and 9 million.
Alkali said the statistics could worsen with an attendant serious social, economic and psychological implications on individual, family, society and the nation.
He said over half of the people living with diabetes are not aware of it.
Alkali spoke yesterday at the triennial delegates’ congress and World Diabetes Day celebration in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
In his opening speech on day one of the celebration, with the theme: Improving Diabetes Care In Nigeria: Useful Strategies, at the Peter Akinola Foundation Youth Centre, Abeokuta, the DAN National President called for concerted efforts to combat the non-communicable disease.
He said public awareness and massive screening are the main strategies to prevent diabetes and manage it effectively.
According to him, diabetes is responsible for over 105 million deaths annually across the globe, while over 425 million people are living with it across the world.
Alkali projected that by 2040, diabetes would have affected 642 million people across the world, if necessary steps are not taken to prevent it.
The DAN National President implored Nigerians to go for screening, seek medical advice on how to live healthy and protect themselves from any disease.
He noted that if proper health care is maintained, over 50 per cent of diabetics cases would be prevented.
Alkali said: “Diabetics has become a major global epidemic, being the leading non-communicable disease (NCD) and responsible for over 105 million deaths annually. The current number of people living with diabetics is over 425 million and is protected to reach 642 million by 2040, unless urgent steps are taken.
“Although, no reliable national data is available in Nigeria for the number of people living with diabetics, it is protected to be between 5-9 million with over half of them not aware of their disease.
“It is not exaggeration to say that almost everyone in Nigeria has a relation or friend that is diabetic and might have lost one. This is only going to worsen, unless concerted efforts are put in place.
“Public awareness and massive screening have been identified as the key strategy to prevent this epidemic from engulfing the world.”