Pharma giant kicks off diabetes awareness campaign

By Adekunle Yusuf

IN low-and middle-income countries, global data has shown that diabetes prevalence is rising more rapidly than in high-income countries. Diabetes, estimated by the World Health Organisation as the seventh leading cause of death globally, is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. It is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose, which can cause serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves if not properly managed. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The above were part of issues at the heart of a nationwide awareness campaign launched by Mega We Care, a leading pharmaceutical company. In recognition of this year’s World Diabetes Day (celebrated yearly in November), the pharmaceutical company said it rolled out the campaign to educate millions of Nigerians on diabetes treatment, medication, and care. There are over 422 million people worldwide living with diabetes with about 1.6 million deaths.

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In her address at the campaign launch, Consultant endocrinologist, Dr. Toyin Ohenhen, said diabetes is diagnosed if a person with symptoms of diabetes has a random blood glucose test of equal or greater than 200mg/dl or a fasting blood glucose of equal or greater than 126mg/dl. “The main categories of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes with type 2 diabetes, being the most common and accounting for around 90 per cent of all diabetes cases worldwide. There is currently no effective intervention to prevent Type 1 diabetes, which is the type of diabetes seen in children. However, type 2 diabetes can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and regular medical screenings.

‘’For diabetes care, we recommend a combination of patient education and counselling, drug treatment, regular clinic monitoring and follow up, self-monitoring of blood glucose and lifestyle modifications. Also, individuals living with diabetes are highly advised to adhere to the drug prescription from their doctor. Complications from diabetes can generally be prevented by maintaining optimal blood glucose level for diabetic patients,’’ she explained.

Amit Singh, business head, Chronic Care Division at Mega Lifesciences, stated that the company’s aim is to empower Nigerians with information on how diabetes can be prevented or managed. “As the foremost manufacturer of diabetes medication, our aim is to educate Nigerians especially those living with diabetes on the treatment and management of diabetes. This countrywide campaign is under the “Good Health By Yourself” Initiative (GHBY) by Mega Lifesciences targeted at empowering and inspiring people and communities to take health into their own hands.

The campaign will primarily feature educational materials distributed across multiple channels, training sessions for healthcare professionals on new trends in diabetes treatment and partnerships with complementary organisations.”.