Again, participants seek tariff removal on anti-diabetes medication, devices


The Federal Government has been urged to urgently consider the removal of tariff from the importation of anti-diabetes medications and devices, to save Nigerians living with the disease from untimely death.

Rising from a one-day capacity building workshop for journalists, organised by a multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Aventis pharmaceuticals, as part of activities marking World Diabetes Day, participants called on government to emulate neighbouring African countries by providing free treatment for children living with diabetes.

A major highlight of the workshop was the revelation that many Nigerians suffering from the disease could no longer control their blood sugar, as the cost of drugs and monitoring devices had become too expensive.

In his presentation, Dr. Ifedayo Odeniyi, a Senior Lecturer and Consultant Endocrinologist at the Department of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, revealed that diabetes is on the increase worldwide, especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

According to the endocrinologist, Nigeria has the third highest incidence of diabetes in Africa, after South Africa with 9.7 per cent and Tanzanian with 7.8 per cent incident rates. “Unfortunately, many people in the country do not know they have the disease because of its silent nature as symptoms in most cases, occur when it has progressed to an advanced stage.”

He however disclosed that while the disease has no known cure for now, people could live with it to a ripe old age and enjoy a good life if they strive to control the disease. Diabetes control, he said, involves good diet, exercise, use of drugs and strict compliance with doctor’s instructions.

The individual, he further added, must work closely with health care givers in the management of conditions through self-monitoring of blood sugar. The goal of diabetes management, Dr. Odeniyi further said, is to prevent complications which, when they occur, could be deadly or very expensive to manage.

“Poorly managed diabetes leads to serious complications and early death.” Such complications, he said, include blindness, kidney failure, heart diseases, infections and skin diseases.

In his remarks, Head, External Affairs, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Mr. Oladimeji Agbolade, urged the participants to be relentless in their enlightenment efforts about diabetes.He urged the Federal Government to implement a policy requiring every patient that reports in the hospital to a blood glucose test, to ensure early detection of the disease.

In this article:
Ifedayo Odeniyi
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