Africa: Does Nigeria Have the Most People With Diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa?
A top drug firm executive said Nigeria registers the most new cases of diabetes in the region and that 5 million people in the country are living with the disease. Do the claims get a clean bill of health?
Diabetes is a growing concern for Nigeria, a drug multinational executive said ahead of a recent summit on the chronic disease in Lagos.
"About three years ago South Africa and Ethiopia tended to have more diabetes than Nigeria," said Dr Philip Ikeme, the medical director of the Nigeria, Ghana and eastern African arm of pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. Among Sanofi's products are the insulin shots used to manage diabetes.
"Now Nigeria has the highest incidence of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa." (Note: Incidence refers to the number of new cases in a given period, say a month or a year, while prevalence is the total number of people in a population with a disease in a specific time period.)
"In terms of actual numbers we are looking at five million people whom we know have diabetes," Ikeme said, adding that the actual number was "much more".
Does the data support Ikeme's claim?
We examined the numbers.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by the body's inability to produce required amounts of insulin - the hormone that regulates blood sugar - or to efficiently use the insulin it produces, according to the World Health Organisation. These are called type 1 and type 2 diabetes respectively.
In 2015, it was the 6th leading cause of death in lower and middle income countries. WHO notes that over the past decade, the prevalence of diabetes has risen faster in low Continue reading