Nigeria losing battle against diabetes — Researcher

A person receives a test for diabetes during Care Harbor LA free medical clinic in Los Angeles, California September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo - D1AETFWRJSAA

A Food Technologist, Mr Mbelede Onuakpunwa, on Tuesday said it appeared Nigeria was losing the battle against Diabetes because of the prevalence of the deadly diseases among the citizen.

Mr Onuakpunwa made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, during the product launch of a health food for people with diabetes.

According to International diabetes Federation, IDF, Nigeria is one of the 32 countries of the IDF African region, adding that 425 million people have diabetes in the world.

READ ALSO: Nigeria closer to achieving HIV epidemic control, U.S says

It also said that more than 16 million people have it in the AFR Region; by 2045 it will be around 41 million. There were 1,702,900 cases of diabetes in Nigeria in 2015.

“Diabetes is a growing concern for Nigeria”, a drug multinational executive said.

The health food produced by Medela Numan Ventures, called Nutritional Coarse is made from selected grains known to have original nutritional values.

It is claimed to have been genetically formulated for people with diabetes and other chronic diseases. It is also found to aid weight loss in those who desire a healthy weight.

Onuakpunwa in his view on the fight against the chronic disease, said that Nigeria still had a long way to go in turning the tide against it.

“What I am sure of is that the fight against diabetes in Nigeria is like losing the battle. This is because we lack a coordinated approach that can mount a meaningful fight.

“It appears that we are just scathing the surface; however, what we are doing is just depending on the government that cannot do everything for us.

“The fight against diabetes must be a coordinated one through clinical researches under one umbrella as we have in the U.S., the activities here is just to look for funds to help the patients.

“There is need for all to collaborate, I mean all the stakeholders in the country and seek for government support towards the fight, not just looking for funds,’’ he said.

Onuakpunwa said that the medicines in the tropics if well researched would find cure for diabetes instead of relying on the foreign researches for what could be sorted locally.

“We have our own local ingredients that we can source for locally and are very potent just like the product launch here. This product is a good initiative. We need to encourage it.

“As I have said, we are blessed with enough medical ingredients to fight diabetes, but we often look away, we need a concerted effort in making sure that our people here are healthy.

“If we are looking for a reliable solution, then it is through clinical researches, for some people here, the battle will soon be over.

“Nigeria can still rise to fight against diabetes, but we need a will power through funds committed to this cause and not for diabetes only, but other chronic diseases,’’ he said.

Onuakpunwa said that the fight against diabetes should start from the foundation which was advocacy on the diets and sedentary lifestyles.

“The fight against this deadly disease should start early, telling our children what to eat, how to eat and when to eat.

“Taking carbohydrates without fruits and vegetables is a dangerous diet, it is what everyone should know about. Also sedentary lifestyle, remaining dormant without exercise is killing the body system.

“The cultural aspect of feeding should also be addressed. A culture that your mum gets angry when you cannot finish a bowl of carbohydrate placed before you is something we should look at.

“Too much carbohydrates is not good for the body, and also some people with protruding belly should watch it,’’ he said.