07 October 2010

Diabetes: Africa's hidden pandemic

Every 10 seconds one person dies of diabetes and two people develop the disease. Diabetes is becoming a "silent pandemic", yet it remains neglected and people continue to suffer.

Every 10 seconds one person dies of diabetes and two people develop the disease. Globally there are an estimated 300 million cases of diabetes, expected to rise to 438 million by 2030. In sub-Saharan Africa the disease is becoming a “silent pandemic”, yet diabetes remains neglected and people continue to suffer.

“Over the next 20 years, sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to have the highest growth in the number of people with diabetes of any region in the world, almost doubling to 23.9 million by 2030,” Prof Jean Claude Mbanya, president of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), told delegates at the Diabetes Leadership Forum Africa 2010 in Johannesburg. The IDF is an umbrella organisation of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries.

“Diabetes is fast becoming a silent pandemic with over 300 million people living worldwide with the disease, and 80% of these are living in developing countries where they have little or no access to proper medical care,” he warned.

Africa’s health leaders and public health experts convened in Johannesburg on 30 September and 1 October to address Africa’s heavy disease burden and to push an integrated diabetes agenda forward for all African countries by targeting joint strategies for detection, prevention and management of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.  This agenda will be presented at the first United Nations Summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in September 2011.

The World Health Organisation predicts that life expectancy will decrease worldwide for the first time in 200 years because of diabetes, and death rates are expected to rise by 25%.



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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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