About 422 million people live with diabetes globally, the majority of them in low-and-middle-income countries. Studies conducted in Ghana estimate the prevalence of diabetes to be between 2.6% to 9%, Deputy Minister for Health, Madam Tina Mensah, has said.
Madam Mensah, who was speaking at the launch of 2022 World Diabetes Day in Accra on Monday on the theme, “Access to Diabetes Education,” said Ghana has seen an increase in population growth with increasing life expectancy, rapid urbanization and adoption of a sedentary lifestyle over the past few decades.
She noted that the epidemiological transition has been associated with an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases including diabetes and its associated risk factors.
She said diabetes mellitus was a chronic metabolic disease, typically characterized by high blood sugar.
“If not controlled, diabetes causes serious damage to blood vessels, the heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves,” she added.
Madam Mensah noted that the management of diabetes was provided at all levels of health care in Ghana, with the primary health care level providing preventive, screening and some treatment services.
The minister further said, Ghana through its National Health Policy and the Non-Communicable Disease policy prioritizes the awareness creation for prevention and control of diabetes, health system strengthening by building capacity for prevention, early detection and management of diabetes and provision of appropriate logistics.
On her part, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative, Dr Elizabeth Juma, said diabetes was the only major non-communicable disease for which the risk of dying early was increasing rather than decreasing.
She stated that the risk factor includes family history and increasing age, along with modifiable risk factor such as being overweight and obese, a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diets, smoking and alcohol abuse.
Dr Juma indicated that without management and lifestyle changes, diabetes could lead to several devastating complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, lower limb amputation, visual impairment, blindness and nerve damage.
“WHO is committed to supporting the requisite training of health workers in the prevention and management of NCDs at district and community levels to improve the availability of services,” she added.
World Diabetes Day, commemorated on the 14th of November each year, is intended to raise awareness of the growing burden of the disease, and strategies for its prevention and management of it in Ghana.
Priscilla Nimako, ISD