Mrs Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, the President of the National Diabetes Association, Ghana, said diabetes has killed more people than COVID-19 between 2020 and now, with about 10 per cent of Ghanaians being diabetic.
She said there were funds, policies and guidelines for the treatment and management of Covid-19, but diabetes had no such funds, though it was the third leading chronic non-communicable disease in the country.
Mrs Denyoh, speaking at a screening exercise in Accra as part of activities marking the World Diabetes Day, which was observed on November 14, appealed to the Government to subsidise prices of diabetic products in the face of the present economic hardship.
The Day is celebrated to draw attention to multistakeholder efforts to tackling the disease as a public health issue.
She expressed concern that many Ghanaians, especially the youth, were diabetic but were oblivious of it, contributing to the high disease burden and mortality rate in the country.
She, therefore, called on the public to regularly undergo testing to know their sugar levels for prompt management and care.
Mrs Denyoh, also the Chairperson of the International Diabetes Federation, West Africa, said the exercise was the first leg of a strategy rolled out by the Association to screen at least 50,000 people across major markets in the country.
“The prevalence of the disease continues to soar and it is important that the citizens take seriously the practice of regular testing to save their lives,” she said.
She urged the Government to implement policies that allowed citizens to stay physically active like creating bicycle lanes, clearing the pedestrian walkways, and directing institutions like the Ghana Education Service to enforce the physical education curriculum to ensure fitness.
Mrs Denyoh called for greater attention on children and the youth to save them from suffering the condition.
She advised people with the disease to stick to their medication, keep to their clinic schedules, and adhere strictly to diets recommended by their doctors.
Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a high blodd sugar level (hyperglycaemia) over a prolonged period and if left untreated can cause many health complications.
Causes include inadequate production of insulin or insulin resistance and could be treated through lifestyle changes such as diet control, medication or insulin.
Symptoms often include frequent urination, increased thirst and appetite.