News / Health

Diabetics in Senegal Struggle to Manage Disease

FILE - Jonas Lukano, 60, who has diabetes, is watched over by his sister at the state general hospital in Congo's capital of Kinshasa.
FILE - Jonas Lukano, 60, who has diabetes, is watched over by his sister at the state general hospital in Congo's capital of Kinshasa.
Jennifer Lazuta
The number of people with diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to double over the next 20 years. The region currently has the highest mortality rate due to diabetes, as proper diagnosis and treatment remain a problem.

The International Diabetes Federation [IDF] says an estimated 371 million people currently live with diabetes, a chronic disease in which the body can’t properly regulate blood sugar levels.

CLICK TO EXPAND: Diabetes in Africa, 2011- 2030CLICK TO EXPAND: Diabetes in Africa, 2011- 2030
x
CLICK TO EXPAND: Diabetes in Africa, 2011- 2030
CLICK TO EXPAND: Diabetes in Africa, 2011- 2030
The World Health Organization [WHO] says that this number is on the rise, particularly in developing countries, where there have been rapid increases in body weight and physical inactivity in recent years - a leading cause of type-2 diabetes.

Dr. Maimouna Ndour Mbaye, an internal medicine specialist at the Marc Sankale National Diabetes Center in Dakar, Senegal, said, “Diabetes has become a big problem in Senegal. Its prevalence is really increasing and is likely to get even higher. Some cases are hereditary, but most of the increase is because of unhealthy lifestyles. Here in Senegal, the food is too rich in fat and sugar. People are also becoming more sedentary. We eat poorly and we sit, and we are getting diabetes.”

There are no exact figures on how many people have diabetes in Senegal, but the IDF estimates that there were more than 160,000 cases in 2012.

The IDF says this figure likely is even higher, as nearly 80 percent of diabetes cases go undiagnosed in Africa.

Fifty-four-year-old Regina Hazoumé was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes more than 20 years ago. She said she currently is able to manage her diabetes, but that others are not so lucky.

She said, “Having diabetes in Senegal can be difficult. We want to do what the doctors say, but people just don’t have the means to live healthy lifestyles. Rice is the staple of each meal here. Bread, too. But diabetics can’t eat those things. And we don’t have the money to afford vegetables or meat, so it’s very difficult.”

If left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, the amputation of limbs and even death.

The WHO says that more than 80 percent of diabetes-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, such as Senegal, where people don’t have access to quality health care or the means to afford treatment.

In Senegal, many diabetics say that they are fortunate because the government subsidizes the cost of insulin - the most common medication used to regulate blood sugar levels - from $36 per treatment down to $3 per treatment.

There are many additional costs, however, such as syringes, blood sugar tests, special foods, and other medical expenses that arise from complications related to diabetes, such as hypertension and circulation problems.

For those patients who can’t or don’t want to take insulin shots three times a day, oral medications can cost upwards of $50 month.

Doctor Mbaye said the availability of insulin also is a problem, particularly outside the capital. “Accessing insulin is a huge problem in many African countries. There is a distribution of diabetes medicine here in Senegal, but it often doesn’t reach certain places,” she says. “There is also the problem of proper storage in villages. Insulin needs to be refrigerated."

Mbaye said because diabetes treatment can be difficult and expensive, prevention is key to reducing the burden of the disease.

She said that while type-1 diabetes is hereditary and cannot be prevented, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise can reduce a person’s chance of developing type-2 diabetes, and can even eliminate the need for daily insulin treatments.

World Diabetes Day is commemorated each year on November 14 to raise awareness about the disease.

The IDF warns that if nothing is done to stop the growing diabetes epidemic, as many as one in 10 people could suffer from the disease by 2030.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 15, 2013 6:18 AM
It's good idea one to do his/her best, in order to avoid this silently killing deseas, by maintaining the body weight, together with the right dieting measures, and make exercise routinely. The other thing, that people must do, is to have close contact to the medical practioners, in order to follow their health status. Governments should also make any means possible, to save lives, whether it is giving the medicine freely, or increasing awareness about the diabetes, or increasing the number doctors plus special hospitals that deal with the diabetics and any arising compilications of it.


by: Ismail Ahmed Gutale from: Kenya
November 15, 2013 6:16 AM
It's good idea one to do his/her best, in order to avoid this silently killing deseas, by maintaining the body weight, together with the right dieting measures and make exercise routinely. The other thing, that people must do, is to have close contact to the medical practionergs, in order to follow their health status. Governments should also make any means possible, to save lives, whether it is giving the medicine freely, or increasing awareness about the diabetes, or increasing the number doctors plus special hospitals that deal with the diabetics and any arising compilications of it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid