In a historic event to commemorate the World Diabetes Day (WDD), people of the town of Udo in the Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State, turned out massively yesterday (14th November) to participate in a mass diabetes screening exercise which took place at the town’s Comprehensive Health Center under the auspices of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).
The WDD event was supported by Sanofi, a global healthcare company focused on human health.
The WDD event, which had the theme “The Family and Diabetes”, also saw the launch of a diabetes and hypertension clinic (DHC) – a public-private partnership initiative between UBTH and Sanofi aimed at effective management of the diseases by bringing healthcare to the primary level of care and closer to people in underserved communities.
While addressing people at the event, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki said the event was organized by the hospital to mark the World Diabetes Day and to mobilize the community to a new awareness about the killer disease and measures to prevent or effectively manage it.
He described diabetes and hypertension as the two commonest non-communicable diseases seen in UBTH among adults. According to him, more than half of those who have the two diseases are unaware that they have them and often present for medical care too late. The screening exercise, he said, is necessary so detect the disease early and take necessary medical intervention to avoid complications.
He commended the traditional ruler, the Iyase of Udodukedom, HRH Patrick Igbinidu and his council of chiefs for mobilizing the people in their large numbers to participate in the disease awareness sessions and screening exercise. Prof. Obaseki also expressed delight with the commissioning of the DHC and the support from Sanofi.
In her speech, the General Manager Rx and Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Pharm. Folake Odediransaid the growing burden of diabetes is a major public health concern and a development challenge because the disease forces many people and families into poverty due to catastrophic expenditures on treatment.
Odediran listed some barriers to effective management of diabetes to include low level of disease awareness, inability to access a health worker or health facility, poorly equipped health centers, inadequate number of health workers and inability to afford the cost of treatment.
To remove the barriers of access to healthcare, Odediran said that “our purpose is to understand the healthcare needs of people in places where we serve and to help in solving those needs. At Sanofi, we recognize that diabetes is a growing public health issue in Nigeria and we are taking definitive steps in tackling the disease burden through collaboration with stakeholders, such as the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH)”.
She reminded that the commissioning of the DHC is in fulfilment of the terms of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that the company signed with UBTH in July this year.
The DHC project, she said, is a social responsibility project of Sanofi to help strengthen the health system and remove some of the barriers of access to healthcare by promoting public disease awareness about diabetes and hypertension, upskilling healthcare practitioners through training and providing easy access for people in underserved communities to check their health status and receive appropriate medical care.
The DHC focuses efforts at the primary level of care and the often neglected underserved population.
The University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) in partnership with multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofiyesterday (November 14) took the battle against diabetes to the rural community of Udo kingdom, Ovia West Local Government of Edo State as part of activities to mark the World Diabetes Day, screening thousands of indigenes while the first ever diabetes and hypertension clinic (DHC) was also commissionedin the community.
The clinic is a support project by multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi in partnership with UBTH which also mobilised its medical staff to screen the large number of people led by the traditional ruler of the kingdom, the Iyase of Udo, HRH Patrick Igbinidu and his chiefs.
Addressing the people, the Chief Medical Director of UNTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki said the event was organized by the hospital to mark the World diabetes Day and also to commission the diabetes and hypertension centre.
He commended the people for turning out in their large numbers and urged them to ensure they are screened for diabetes in line with the World Diabetes Day activities, adding that the hospital had mobilised its staff to also screen them for other conditions such as hypertension, oral diseases and eye problems.
He described diabetes and hypertension as the two commonest diseases seen in UBTH among adults. According to him, more than half of those who have the two diseases don’t usually know they have them and thus report to the hospital too late. The screening programme, he said, is necessary so that the diseases can be detected early enough while appropriate medical intervention is provided to avoid complications.
Prof. Obaseki expressed delight about the diabetes and hypertension centre being commissioned and commended Sanofi for its support to the hospital.
In her speech, the General Manager Rx and Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Pharm. Folake Odediran said the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes has become a major public health concern.
“Diabetes is not only a health problem but also a development challenge. Diabetes forces many people and families into poverty due to catastrophic expenditures on treatment. It also impacts quality of life and undercut productivity.
“However, the good news is that diabetes can be effectively managed through interventions that include early diagnosis and access to quality healthcare.”
Odediran listed some barriers to effective management of diabetes such as low level of awareness about the disease, inability to access a health worker or health facility, poorly equipped health centers, inadequate number of health workers and inability to afford the cost of treatment. These barriers, she said, often prevent people to either not seek treatment or seek it too late
She described the DHC project as the company’s social responsibility initiative to help reduce the barriers of access to healthcare by bringing healthcare closer to the people.
“The DHC focuses efforts at the primary level of care and underserved population. Under our partnership with UBTH, the Comprehensive Health Center in Udo was selected as most appropriate for the DHC project.
“Having worked collaboratively with UBTH under the leadership of the CMD, we are pleased to commission the DHC at this Comprehensive Health Center in Udo to commemorate today’s World Diabetes Day.
“I am confident that this initiative will live to its purpose and serve to the benefit of the good people of Udo and Edo State,” she concluded.