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500,000 Diabetes Patients In Ghana   
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Some 500,000 Ghanaians are currently living with diabetes, according to 2013 statistics released by Novo Nordisk, one of the health groups campaigning against the disease.

Out of the figure, the institution noted that 330,000, representing 70% of the total cases recorded, remain undiagnosed.

These statistics suggest that the number might hit 819,000 by the year 2035.

The alarming news was disclosed by Mr Alex Ameyaw, West and Central Africa Manager of Novo Nordisk, at the launch of Diabetes Support Centre (DSC) at Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in the Western Region.

He said, "Currently, an estimated 19.8 million adults in the West Africa sub-region have diabetes, a regional prevalence of 4.9%.

The highest prevalence of diabetes in Africa region is on the Island of Reunion, 15.4%; followed by Seychelles, 12.1%; Gabon, 10.7%; and Zimbabwe, 9.7%. Some of Africa's most populous countries have the highest numbers of people with diabetes, including Nigeria, 3.9 million; South Africa, 2.6 million; Ethiopia, 1.9 million; and the United Republic of Tanzania, 1.7 million.

An address delivered by Linda Kafui Abbah-Foli, on behalf of the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Margit Thomsen, pointed out the negative impact the damning statistics could have on productivity in Ghana and Africa.

She explained that the growth of rural-urban migration in Ghana in the last few years could be blamed for the increasing number of cases.

She expressed the willingness of the Embassy to support in various ways to ensure that the disease becomes manageable.

On his part, Dr Paul Kwaw Ntodi, Medical Director of the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital, said a total of 554 diabetes cases were recorded in two years, with 38 patients having their legs amputated.

He said the hospital recorded 255 cases of the disease with 27 amputated legs in 2012, while 299 cases with 11 amputations in 2013.

He described the situation as “very bad” when the GH¢140, 000 Diabetes Support Centre was inaugurated with the launch of Base of the Pyramid Project for the Hospital.

Diabetes is the common term for several metabolic disorders in which the body no longer produces insulin or uses the insulin it produces ineffectively, medical experts say.

It is characterised by abnormally high blood sugar levels.

Symptoms include frequent urination, extreme thirst and hunger, weight loss, fatigue, numbness, sores that are slow to heal, and increased infections.

Dr Ntodi encouraged patients to report illnesses to the hospital early for diagnosis and treatment as delays often cause complications, resulting in amputation.

He said the One Stop Centre would serve as a research and training point for doctors, nurses and paramedics on diabetes to educate patients on how to manage the disease to live longer.

Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, Regional Director of Health Services, said diabetes is manageable if diagnosed properly. He, therefore, advised patients to take expert advice seriously.

He expressed gratitude to the donors for their support to save lives, saying resources to manage diabetes keep on dwindling.

Novo Nordisk, headquartered in Denmark, is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care.
Source: The Finder

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