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Agency advocates use of traditional medicine as world marks Diabetes Day

By Kehinde Olatunji
11 November 2021   |   4:06 am
The Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) has disclosed that the country has the highest rate of diabetes in Africa, urging government to take a cue from COVID-19...

Diabetes test photo: shutterstock

Claims herbal remedy for managing disease

The Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) has disclosed that the country has the highest rate of diabetes in Africa, urging government to take a cue from COVID-19 and commit more funds to research and development of traditional medicine.

Citing data from the International Diabetes Federation, NNMDA lamented rise in prevalence of the disease, saying about six million Nigerians live with the ailment.

This was disclosed, yesterday, during an interactive session with the media on ‘Rational Use of Natural Medicine for Management and Prevention of Diabetes’, in commemoration of World Diabetes Day, today.

NNMDA Director General, Dr. Samuel Etatuvie, said Nigeria has the highest incidence of both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes on the continent. He described the development as worrisome, given Nigerians’ poor attitude to health, poor health infrastructure, poverty and rapidly growing population.

He, however, noted that the usefulness of medicinal plants in the treatment and management of Type 2 diabetes and its complications, as well as male infertility, has been attributed to their phytochemical and nutritional constituents.

“These plant constituents provide antidiabetic activities through various mechanisms. NNMDA, in pursuance of part of its research mandate, has developed a herbal remedy from our indigenous medicinal plants that has blood sugar lowering properties and can be useful in the management of diabetes,” he said.

Etatuvie said the use of insulin and other orthodox conventional oral hypoglycemic agents such as sulfonylureas (glimepiride) biguanides (metformin) and meglitinides (repaglinide) to manage the metabolic disorder often come with adverse effects.

He added: “In response to damaging adverse effects of oral hypoglycemic agents and its consequences on health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) expert committee on diabetes listed as one of its recommendations that traditional methods of treatment for diabetes should be further investigated.

“In Nigeria, the use of herbal medicine alone or in combination with orthodox drugs is quite common. Studies have shown that consuming fruits and vegetables can reduce markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in patients with Type 2 diabetes. There are reports that natural compounds across Nigerian medicinal plants are used in the treatment of diabetes.”