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24m adults living with diabetes in Africa, 58% die before age of 70, says WHO

By Chukwuma Muanya
15 November 2022   |   4:25 am
Twenty-Four million adults are living with diabetes in Africa, and the figure is projected to rise by 129 per cent to 55 million by 2045, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

[FILES] Diabetes kit. PHOTO: REUTERS/BEAWIHARTA BEAWIHARTA<br />

Twenty-Four million adults are living with diabetes in Africa, and the figure is projected to rise by 129 per cent to 55 million by 2045, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO African Region (WHO AFRO), yesterday, at a press conference to mark World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2022, said, in the African region, premature deaths from diabetes (defined as deaths occurring before the age of 70) stands at 58 per cent, higher than the global average of 48 per cent.

A new analysis by WHO shows only 46 per cent of people living with diabetes in the African region know their status, raising the risk of severe illness and death, potentially worsening the situation in the region, which already has the world’s highest mortality rates due to the disease.

According the WHO analysis, globally, 55 per cent of people with diabetes know they have the disease. In the African region, lack of testing facilities and equipment, inadequate number of trained health personnel, poor access to health facilities and lack of awareness about diabetes are some of the barriers to testing.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said: “One of the greatest challenges to diabetes care is lack of diagnosis. Without testing, diabetes becomes a silent killer.

“While countries face several barriers to tackling diabetes, the rising prevalence of the disease is a wakeup call to reinforce health care, improve diagnosis, access to life-saving diabetes medicines and prioritise diabetes as a major health challenge.”

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