Dr Ramatu Shuaibu, Consultant Endocrinologist, National Hospital, Abuja (NHA) has called for improved funding and training of nurses to help in the management of diabetes and reduce death rates caused by the condition.
She made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday on the occasion of the World Diabetes Day (WDD), which has “The Nurse and Diabetes” as the 2020 theme.
Annually celebrated on Nov. 14 to raise global awareness and promote the importance of taking coordinated actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue, WDD is also aimed at prevention, complications and care for people living with the condition.
The WHO website defines diabetes as a chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.
The report also says about 422 million people worldwide live with diabetes, with majority of them in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.
Shuaibu, who said that about 2.8 million Nigerian adults suffer from diabetes, added that a substantial percentage of the work force was affected.
According to her, the COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed people with the condition to higher risk and difficulties in accessing treatment.
She, therefore, urged persons living with diabetes to seek prompt medical attention and to abide by the rules and regulations of managing it so as to live a normal and complication-free life.
The consultant said that the choice of the 2020 theme, “The Nurse and Diabetes”, was apt and emphasised the crucial role nurses played in supporting people living with diabetes.
She added that “nurses have an important role to play in the management of diabetes through education and counselling, which included medical nutrition therapy, foot care, self monitoring of blood glucose and how to manage hypoglycaemia.
“There is the need for special skills to perform these roles. Educating patients makes a huge difference in their prognosis.
“Nurses can be encouraged by stakeholders in diabetes management by identifying specific roles for them in managing patients.”
She, therefore, urged government to implement diabetes prevention programmes, diabetes-centred education in health institutions and in public institutions to reduce deaths from the condition.
The endocrinologist also stressed the need for the National Health Insurance Scheme to include the management of diabetes into areas it cover, and encouraged other healthcare facilities to improve on treatment to patients in hospitals.
Shuaibu also advised the public to adopt healthy lifestyle, exercise more, eat healthy foods in the right proportions, hydrate adequately and get a lot of sleep to prevent diabetes. (NAN)