The National Action Plan on Sugar Reduction Coalition has revealed that diabetes incurs a direct cost of $4.5 billion annually in Nigeria. This alarming figure was disclosed during an art exhibition in Abuja, organized to commemorate World Diabetes Day. The event aimed to raise public awareness about the risks associated with sugar-sweetened beverages and their impact on non-communicable diseases like diabetes.
Dr. Alkali Mohammed, President of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria, highlighted the multifaceted costs of diabetes, which include healthcare expenses and loss of productivity. He noted that most healthcare payments in Nigeria are out-of-pocket, significantly burdening individuals and families. A diabetic patient in Nigeria spends approximately N300,000 yearly on healthcare.
The global prevalence of diabetes is a growing concern, with an estimated 537 million people living with the condition. This number is expected to rise to 737 million by 2040 if effective measures are not implemented. In Nigeria, about 11.2 million people are living with diabetes, with over 90% suffering from type 2 diabetes.
The coalition advocates for an increase in the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages from 10% to 20%. This measure aims to improve health culture and discourage the consumption of sugary drinks. However, there is a call for the government to allocate a significant portion of the revenue generated from this tax to fund the control and management of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes.
Dr. Adamu Umar, co-chairman of the coalition and President of the Nigerian Cancer Society, emphasized that Nigeria has the highest burden of diabetes in Africa. He stressed the importance of raising awareness about lifestyle choices that contribute to the disease and the need for effective policy implementation to mitigate its impact.
The revelation by the National Action Plan on Sugar Reduction Coalition that diabetes costs Nigeria $4.5 billion annually is a wake-up call to the nation. This staggering figure not only highlights the economic burden of the disease but also underscores the urgent need for effective healthcare policies and lifestyle changes.
Diabetes, a non-communicable disease largely preventable through lifestyle modifications, has become a significant public health challenge in Nigeria. The high cost of managing diabetes, predominantly borne by patients due to the out-of-pocket healthcare system, is a clear indication of the need for a more robust healthcare infrastructure and support system.
The proposed increase in tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is a step in the right direction. It aligns with global efforts to combat the rise of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. However, the revenue generated from this tax must be transparently and effectively utilized for the intended purpose of improving public health, particularly in the prevention and management of diabetes.
There is a need for widespread public education and awareness campaigns about the risks associated with unhealthy dietary habits and the importance of regular exercise. Preventive measures, including early diagnosis and management of diabetes, should be a priority in healthcare policies.
The fight against diabetes in Nigeria requires a multi-faceted approach involving government policy, public awareness, and individual responsibility. It is essential to address the root causes of the disease and implement sustainable solutions to reduce its economic and social impact on the nation.
Did You Know?
- Global Diabetes Epidemic: Diabetes affects over 537 million people worldwide, with projections indicating a rise to 737 million by 2040.
- Economic Impact of Diabetes: The economic burden of diabetes extends beyond healthcare costs to include loss of productivity and income.
- Diet and Diabetes: Diet plays a crucial role in the management and prevention of diabetes, particularly in reducing sugar intake.
- Diabetes and Lifestyle: Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Healthcare System in Nigeria: The Nigerian healthcare system predominantly relies on out-of-pocket payments, impacting the affordability and accessibility of diabetes care.