What We Can Learn From the Nigerian Diabetes Struggle: It may be rare that a diabetic news items comes from Africa, yet a recent editorial in Nigeria’s Daily Trust provides some interesting items to consider when discussing diabetes.
Unlike the United States and other well developed countries Nigeria does not have an effective means of tracking cases of diabetes, but this editorial indicates the estimated number of Nigerians who live with diabetes is about 5 million. The reasons for the increase are many, but this editorial provides some ideas.
“The rise of diabetes cases is occasioned by our changing and sedentary life-styles especially in urban areas where there are hardly places for sporting activities and public parks for recreation.”
“School children in both primary and secondary schools no longer have spaces for games and other physical exercises to improve their mental and physical fitness.”
“Children in the urban areas mostly stay indoors playing video games and watching television instead of exercising themselves.”
“The prevalence of junk, sugary and other fast-food restaurants contributes in no small measure in the escalation of the ailment.”
“In the urban areas, either because of cultural factors where the affluent men and women in the community cannot freely walk to exercise themselves, for instance for fear of exposure to kidnapping or other hazard, there are rampant cases of obesity that easily lead to diabetes.”
The editorial staff at the Daily Trust also provided what they believe to be remedial action needed to stop the progression of the disease in Nigeria.
“We call on the government to intensify public awareness about the causes of the ailment and the necessary preventive measures the public should take.”
“Those already diagnosed to be diabetic… should be enlightened on how the condition can be properly managed and at the same time live a perfectly normal life.”
“We call on the federal government to establish a National Diabetes Centre in Abuja for the research and treatment of the disease.”
“We urge the government to take special interest in the several claims by herbalists and traditional medicine practitioners for the treatment of the condition.”
The editorial provides a look at what writer(s) perceive to be the issues that contribute to the growth of diabetes in Nigeria. In many ways the struggles against a sedentary lifestyle and time consumed with video games and other electronics sound oddly familiar.
When it comes to ways to address the issue the writer(s) call on government help combined with personal responsibility to manage the growth of the disease.
While it might be easy to scoff at the notion of consulting with “herbalists and traditional medicine practitioners” there have been numerous advances in medicine based on the common sense practices of men and women who took what they had to create home spun potions to help treat various ailments. You don’t have to spend much time online to find information dedicated to natural remedies. The Daily Trust suggestion may not be as far fetched as you think.
Currently diabetics use various teas and supplements to provide some relief for their condition. It is likely there are several other traditional medicines that could prove beneficial as well.
What we can all agree with is that we long for a day when there is a solution to diabetes and the days of strict management will no longer be needed because a new life freedom has been found.
Let’s keep pressing for that day – together.