South Africa-Health-Diabetes

Covid-19 deadlier for Africans living with diabetes – WHO

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

South Africa on Sunday joined other African countries in observing World Diabetes Day on Sunday, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning that diabetic patients who contract Covid-19 have a higher chance of dying from the underlying disease.

According to WHO Africa Region’s BaAenido Impouma, Africa recorded at least 8.5 million Covid-19 cases, with 200,000 Covid-19 related deaths and only 6% of the population fully vaccinated against the virus.  

“Preliminary analysis shows that death rates from Covid-19 are significantly higher in patients who also have diabetes,” Impouma said.

He said a survey of 13 African countries found a “more than 10% fatality rate in people who have diabetes compared with 2.5% for Covid-19 patients overall.” 

“This shows that fighting the diabetes epidemic in Africa is in many ways as critical as the battle against the current Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Impouma added that projections were that in the coming years, Africa was expected to have the highest increase in cases of diabetes globally which could be devastating with the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, the slow pace of Covid-19 vaccinations on the continent must be ramped up to avoid the impending health crisis the two illnesses might cause together.

He said that lockdowns in the continent have severely disrupted medical care for patients with diabetes and other diseases.

But the organisation’s Global Diabetes Compact was assisting at least 21 African countries to remedy the situation, he said.

He pleaded with African countries to move quickly in testing for and treating diabetes within their populations.

NM/jn/APA

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