Screen Shot 2019-12-18 at 11.42.13.pngCITATION: Sub-Saharan Africa—The impact and challenge of type 2 diabetes mellitus requiring urgent and sustainable public health measures
AJ Sinclair
EClinical Medicine: Commentary| volume 16, p6-7, november 01, 2019
Open AccessPublished:October 24, 2019 DOI:

The prevalence of diabetes in those aged 20–79 years in SSA countries has increased rapidly in the last quarter of a century with varying rates of 2.0% in The Gambia, 6.3% in the Congo, 9.3% in South Africa, and as high as 14.8% in Mauritius.

It is abundantly clear that the burden of type 2 diabetes in SSA is now immense and that national and international public health interventions are necessary… An educational initiative to underpin and enhance success of public health measures is urgently required at the individual, health professional level, and health provider level… Achieving success in terms of improved well being and greater life expectancy of sub-Saharan Africans with diabetes will not only require the above measures but a wider implementation of initiatives such as the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of noncommunicable disease (NCDs), 2013–2020 and its successors [6]. Such ambitions require significantly higher funding levels and this continues to represent a key obstacle in one of the most economically deprived areas of the world.

Type 2 diabetes complications and comorbidity in Sub-Saharan Africans
Kenneth Ekoru et al.
EClinical Medicine Volume 16, p30-41, november 01, 2019

‘Type 2 Diabetes complications and comorbidities were assessed in 2,784 participants with diabetes enrolled from tertiary health centres and contextualised in 3,209 individuals without diabetes in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya…. The burden of diabetes complications and comorbidity is substantial in SSA highlighting the urgent need for innovative public health strategies that prioritise promotion of healthy lifestyles for prevention and early detection of T2D. Also needed are strategies to strengthen health care system capacities to provide treatment and care for diabetes complications.’

Comment: The editorial highlights the importance of education. It would be good to know more about knowledge gaps in different countries and how to address these. A recent paper from Zimbabwe found that ‘most respondents had poor knowledge in all the three knowledge categories, total knowledge of diabetes, general knowledge of diabetes and knowledge of insulin use. Major knowledge gaps were noted related to insulin use, glycemic control and diet.’

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Information for Citizens, Parents and Children