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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The burden of Diabetes


The rate of diabetes is globally increasing, and Sub-Saharan Africa is of no exception. With diverse health challenges, authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa and international donors need robust data on the epidemiology and impact of diabetes in order to plan, and prioritize the health programs.

The prevalence of Diabtes: 

Type 2 diabetes accounts for well over 90% of diabetic patients  in Sub-Saharan Africa, and population prevalence proportions ranges from 1% in rural Uganda to 12% in urban Kenya. Type 1 diabetes prevalence is low and ranges from 4 per 100,000 in Mozambique to 12 per 100,000 in Zambia. Gestational diabetes prevalence varies from 0% in Tanzania to 9% in Ethiopia. Proportions of patients with diabetic complications ranges  from 7-63% for retinopathy, 27-66% for neuropathy, and 10-83% for microalbuminuria. 
Diabetic patients are likely to be predisposed to an increased risk of several important infections in the region, including tuberculosis, pneumonia and sepsis. Meanwhile, antiviral treatment for HIV increases the risk of obesity and insulin resistance. Scientific studies show that there is a  five-years mortality proportions of patients with diabetes varying from 4-57%. . Other significant studies show  high proportions (> 40%) with previously undiagnosed diabetes, and low levels of adequate glucose control among previously diagnosed diabetics. Barriers to accessing diagnosis and treatment included a lack of diagnostic tools and glucose monitoring equipment and high cost of diabetes treatment. The total annual cost of diabetes in the region was estimated at US$67.03 billion, or US$8836 per diabetic patient. 

In conclusion, Diabetes exerts a significant burden in the region, and this is expected to increase. Many diabetic patients face significant challenges accessing diagnosis and treatment, which contributes to the high mortality and prevalence of complications observed. The significant interactions between diabetes and important infectious diseases highlight the need and opportunity for health planners to develop integrated responses to communicable and non-communicable diseases (Nicolai Lohse, 2011)


Nicolai Lohse. (2011, July 14). Diabetes in Sub Saharan Africa 1999-2011: Epidemiology and public 
health implications. a systematic review. BMC Public Health. Retrieved from

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