COVID-19: Africa Records More Deaths In Diabetic Patients

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Ahead of World Diabetes Day on Sunday, the World Health Organisa­tion (WHO) has alerted that Africa’s death rates from COVID-19 infections are sig­nificantly higher in patients with diabetes.

This was revealed in a pre­liminary analysis the WHO presented Thursday in ad­vance of the World Diabetes Day on 14 November.

The analysis alerted that Africa’s sharp increase in diabetes, noting that trend is clashing with the COVID-19 pandemic and poor access to vaccines.

“COVID-19 is delivering a clear message: fighting the diabetes epidemic in Africa is in many ways as critical as the battle against the current pandemic,” said Dr. Matshi­diso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will eventually subside, but Africa is projected in the com­ing years to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally. We must act now to prevent new cases, vaccinate people who have this condi­tion, and, equally important­ly, identify and support the millions of Africans unaware they are suffering from this silent killer.”

A recent WHO analysis evaluated data from 13 coun­tries on underlying condi­tions or comorbidities in Africans who tested positive for COVID-19.

It revealed a 10.2 percent case fatality rate in patients with diabetes, compared with 2.5 percent for COVID-19 pa­tients overall. The case fatal­ity rate for people with dia­betes was also twice as high as the fatality rate among patients suffering any comor­bidity. In addition to people with diabetes, the three most frequent underlying condi­tions included patients with HIV and hypertension.

The countries contributing data to the analysis were Burki­na Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Guinea, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sen­egal, Seychelles, Sao Tome, and Principe, and Uganda.

An estimated 24 million people are living with diabe­tes in Africa in 2021 according to the International Diabetes Federation and the continent is expected to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally, with the number of Africans suffering from the disease predicted to rise to 55 million by 2045, an increase of 134 percent compared with 2021. Africa is the region with the highest number of people who do not know their diag­nosis – an estimated 70 per­cent of people with diabetes do not know they have the disease.

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