DEPUTY Minister of Health and Social Services, Esther Muinjangue, said diabetes is one of the leading causes of death among Namibian people. This poses devastating health and socio-economic consequences for individuals, families, and communities, as well as threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system. Muinjangue made these remarks during the commemoration of World Diabetes Day held on Tuesday. The day is being held under the theme “Access to Diabetes Care.”
She explained that the day is commemorated every year with the aim of raising awareness about the impact of diabetes on the health of people; it highlights the importance of prevention, early and timely detection, and treatment of this disease in both public and private spaces.
“Hence the need for strategic interventions from all sectors, all individuals, business communities, Ministries, Agencies, and Organizations to eliminate stigma and discrimination as well as accelerate the reduction of illnesses and deaths due to Diabetes,” she said.
She added that in increasing access to Diabetes prevention and care, the government, through the Ministry of Health, has rolled out Diabetic screening programs at all health facilities across all regions.
Speaking at the same occasion, Mary Nana Ama Brantuo, WHO Officer in Charge, indicated that diabetes as one of the non-communicable diseases is a global health challenge of our time, touching the lives of millions of people worldwide.
Brantuo said that diabetes ranks among the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Over 537 million adults aged 20-79 are living with diabetes, which is over a five-fold increase from 108 million in 1980. She added that this number is predicted to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045.
“The prevalence of diabetes has been rising more rapidly in low- and middle-income countries, and it is estimated that 3 in 4 adults with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries. Diabetes was responsible for 6.7 million deaths worldwide in 2021, which translates to 1 diabetes death every 5 seconds,” she added.
According to Brantuo, in the African region, 24 million adults are living with diabetes, and these numbers are projected to increase to 55 million people by 2045. Moreover, Brantuo indicated diabetes was responsible for 416,000 deaths in Africa in 2021 and is predicted to be one of the leading causes of death in the region by 2030. In Namibia, available statistics reveal that nearly 7% of Namibian adults have diabetes, with an estimated ninety thousand (90,000) people living with the condition.