President, Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria, Prof. Olufemi Fasanmade, says Nigeria has only about 150 active endocrinologists serving its estimated 200 million population.
Fasanmade said the number was ‘grossly inadequate,’ compared to what obtains in the United States of America.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, he said there were about 150 active endocrinologists — including adult and paediatric endocrinologists; some endocrine surgeons, pathologists, and gynecologists.
“The number is grossly inadequate. New York City alone has more than all the endocrinologists in Nigeria. Some states in Nigeria have just one or two,” Fasanmade said.
He noted that diabetes is on the increase because the population is getting older, poverty is increasing and people are getting fatter.
He said one in 10 adults in Nigeria has diabetes, noting that there are between three and five million people with diabetes in Nigeria, warning that the number might double over the next two decades.
“Every year, the number keeps increasing and Africa has the highest rise of diabetes because our population is getting older, poverty is increasing and people are getting fatter.
“From all the projections, we will be having double of that number in the next 20 years; we will be having 10-20 million people with diabetes,” Fasanmade warned.
He said there are increased cases of diabetes in Nigeria because the population is gradually ageing, the westernization of the local population is also increasing and exercise/physical activities are reducing (insecurity, longer sitting hours, etc.) while people have more access to cheap unhealthy food as seen in the proliferation of fast food outlets, food delivery companies, etc.
“Typically children and adolescents are usually type 1; but of late, in the past two or three decades, more children are being diagnosed with the type 2 variant which used to predominantly occur in the middle-aged and elderly.
Fasanmade, who is also a professor of Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos and Consultant Endocrinologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, said diabetes affects all organs of the body and that the complications affect many systems and can lead to stroke, heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure, impotence, and miscarriages.
Other complications, according to him, include stillbirths, chronic life-threatening leg ulcers and gangrene, nerve damage, and several other complications.
He said diabetics face the burden of stigmatisation, inability to meet up with the cost of treatment and tests, and limited access to health care.
“The way forward is to prevent the disease through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, abstinence from alcohol, soft drinks, and fast food consumption and smoking cessation,” he noted.
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