November 14 every year, recognized by the international community as World Diabetes Day. Campaigns against the fatal but preventable and treatable disease aim at creating global awareness focusing on diabetes mellitus, as it is assumed that more than 400 million people live with it worldwide and the incidence is expected to continue to increase if current trends persist. It was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), which coordinates all activities related to the event, is concerned that the number of patients suffering from the non-communicable disease is increasing rapidly worldwide. And to emphasize the impact of the disease on the family, it chose an apt theme for 2018: The family and diabetes – diabetes affects all families.
It is already known that the disease comes in different types and forms. Type 1 Diabetes is not preventable but can be handled with insulin injections. The campaign program lasts throughout the year. During that period, relevant subjects are selected to highlight the disease dimensions from diabetes and human rights, lifestyle, obesity, diabetes in the disadvantaged and vulnerable and diabetes in children and adolescents.
Historically, World Diabetes Day was launched as an event of urgent plans, policies and programs to combat the death disease, 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the rapid rise in diabetes.
Impressive, the world was focused on this attempt to save lives threatened by the disease and in 2016 the day was held by over 230 IDF member associations in more than 160 countries and territories, as well as by other organizations, companies, healthcare professionals, politicians, celebrities and people living with diabetes and their families. The activities include diabetes screening programs, radio and television campaigns, sports events and others.
This year, WHO partners join the world to highlight how diabetes has on families and family members to support prevention, early diagnosis and good management of diabetes. Diabetes is undoubtedly an important cause of premature death, blindness, kidney failure, myocardial infarction, stroke and leg amputation.
The world body is concerned that in addition to the economic burden on the health care system and the national economy, diabetes can be a major financial burden for people affected by it, as well as their families in terms of higher payments without payment and loss of family income in disability, for early death and care of disabled family members. Expenses for medicines and treatments are an important source of household expenses for diabetes care. This was the focus of the campaign against the disease in Nigeria, which used the event to cry out what is perceived as high import duty on medicines.
This troubled economic policy was adopted as a point of reference in the work to improve the impact of disease in Nigeria as it realized that complications of diabetes can be avoided or delayed by medication, regular screening and treatment. This process will be hampered if the cost of the drugs becomes unreasonable due to government policy, which may not have been intended to bring the undesirable impact just observed.
Although diabetes can be managed with generic drugs, the cost increases for the more expensive branded drugs. Their price is in big difference with what is known about their health benefits. Due to the possibility of catastrophic personal expenses of persons without financial protection, both patients and decision makers must be aware of the health effects that can be expected with their use. To achieve this, WHO issued guidelines for the selection of blood glucose control drugs, which recommended the use of generic drugs and human insulin.
The WHO can also, in response to growing concerns about the healthy and economic threat caused by diabetes, have persuaded the UN organization to make the day an official UN Day 2006. The World Diabetes Day 2018 campaign focuses on promoting universal health care for affordable and fair access to diabetes management, including by improving the knowledge and ability of people with diabetes and their families to take care of their own care, reducing household financial difficulties, having few strategies to cope with the economic burden of diabetes.
This newspaper therefore joins the campaigns against diabetes in Nigeria and urges the government to review the import adjustment tax which places 20 percent tax on imported drugs. We appreciate the government's policy goals that would deter imports and encourage local manufacturing of the drugs, but it starts to be an unintended effect on the poor and those who need these drugs at all costs.