Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu says prioritising the prevention, early detection and management of Diabetes in Ghana is crucial in reducing its morbidity and mortality.
According to the Health Minister, this requires a collective action and commitment from various stakeholders.
Addressing Journalists in Accra on Friday at the launch of affordable access to Diabetes Care and the signing of an MoU between the Health Ministry and Sanofi, he said "There is a high financial burden on persons living with Diabetes. Although the direct cost of care is covered by NHIA, extra costs in terms of care giving, time and nutritional support are borne by the patient, his/her family and/or providers through out-of-pocket payments m.
The Minister added that due to the chronic nature of diabetes, the cost of care tends to be lifelong, further driving families and communities into poverty.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu stressed that Diabetes is a significant public health challenge that requires all to come on board.
"Multi-sectoral action including partnership between governments, healthcare providers, civil society organisations, and the private sector is encouraged"
The Health Minister noted that the Sanofi/Ministry of Health Affordable Access to Diabetes Care Programme is a timely intervention necessary to enhance the management of diabetes in Ghana.
He, further explained that persons diagnosed with the disease have a greater chance of having access to equitable, comprehensive, affordable and quality care for better outcomes.
"Globally, an estimated 422 million people live with diabetes, majority of them in low-and-middle income countries and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year"
"Studies conducted in Ghanaestimate the prevalence of dabetes to be between 2.6% - 9%. The Ghana Health Service records an average of 200,000 cases of diabetes reporting to health facilities annually"
The Minister mentioned that if care is not taken, diabetes will become one of the leading causes of death by 2030.
Consultant Diabetologist and Endocrinologist, Ghana, Dr. Yacoba Atiase noted that Ghana must do well to prevent diabetes at all cost.
"In 2000, there were only 151 million people living with Diabetes. In 2009, the number rose from 151million to 285milliion"
"By 2013, the number again rose to 382million people living with Diabetes. In 2017, the number rose to 425 people. A storm that is potentially destroying people"
"In 2023, we have 537million people living with Diabetes representing one in ten adults"
She stressed that one out of every ten adults is suffering from diabetes.
"There are more people in the group we categorise as pre-diabetes. These people are getting ready to be diabetic"
"319million people with impaired fastening glucose which represents one in every six adults whiles 541million people having impaired glucose tolerance which also represents one in every nine adults"
She revealed that 6.7million deaths are being attributed to diabetes every year which also representing one death every second.
She also hinted that 50% of persons living on earth do not know that they have contracted diabetes.
"In Ghana, our numbers may be higher than the 50%. 15 years ago, we did a study in a village called Kpone behind Tema and that study revealed that 75% of the people did not know that they had diabetes"
She added that these scary numbers are not limited to one geographical location.
"In 2021, Africa had 24million people with diabetes but in 2030, the number will jump to 33million"
She stressed that by 2045, about 55million people living in Africa will be diagnosed with diabetes.
Handling of Diabetes
"Diabetes is behaving like an epidemic or more like a pandemic, so why are we not treating it like an epidemic? There is evidence to show the less we invested in diabetes care, the higher our morbi- mortality"
"Thankfully we have all lived during an epidemic, what should be done during a pandemic? Everyone must be educated, everyone knew about the signs and symptoms of Covid and how to prevent it"
"Today we must ensure every Ghanaian Knows about Diabetes. Our people must be educated"
"Education of health care staff. I remember in 2020, we were all taught again how to wear PPEs and manage patients and it was continuous bombardment of medical education till we had zoom fatigue"
"Our healthcare workers must receive continuous diabetes education till patients receive comprehensive diabetes care wherever they find themselves in this country"
"Access to healthcare- in 2020 if I remember, communities had access to Covid care and had an area for management. Yes, covid was infectious and patients had to be isolated; the point I am trying to make is that we must ensure that no matter where patients find themselves in Ghana, they receive optimum care"
"Hon minister, I implore and plead with you as we talk about diabetes that the renovation of the National Diabetes Management & Research Center that was started 2 years ago be expedited and completed"
Executive Vice President, General Medicines, Sanofi, Olivier Charmeil said “Our ambition to deliver better care and improve the quality-of-life of those living with diabetes knows no borders"
"We see this as a shared responsibility with healthcare systems, and we are committed to fully playing our part. In this context, we are proud to work closely with the Ministry of Health in Ghana and look forward to taking the learnings from this alliance forward in other countries"
"More broadly, we continue to examine various healthcare access models to determine which approaches best meet specific local needs and opportunities.”
He revealed that 7 million people lose their lives as a result of diabetes adding that the disease when dealt with will help prevent more deaths.
The Management of Sanofi says it is strengthening its long-standing commitment to access to diabetes care in low- and middle-income countries and underserved communities worldwide through a series of innovative partnerships with healthcare authorities in countries where comprehensive care has not previously been widely available.
The company on Friday, signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Health of Ghana, a milestone marked at ceremonies held simultaneously in Accra and Paris.
Under the MoU, the healthcare authorities in Ghana will be able to purchase affordable high-quality Sanofi analogue insulin products.
Moreover, the proposed partnership provides for the deployment of diabetes management solutions in four Ghanaian diabetes centers where 500 healthcare professionals will benefit from a targeted medical training program.
In addition, Sanofi will co-develop a digital solution to help physicians, nurses, pharmacists and community healthcare workers to better support more than 5,000 people living with diabetes in Ghana.
As well as disease awareness, screening, and training for healthcare professionals, this MoU will provide patient support initiatives and measures designed to help strengthen the Ghanaian health system.
Diabetes care will also be made more accessible to patients in remote areas through regional centers.
The joint approach in Ghana, which Sanofi intends to mirror elsewhere over time, comes as people in Africa are expected to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally.
The number of people on the continent suffering from the disease is forecasted by the International Diabetes Federation to rise by 129% from 24m to 55m by 2045.
Under-diagnosis is also widespread with an estimated 54% of people living with undiagnosed diabetes.
IDF estimates suggest 329,200 adults in Ghana have diabetes, the majority being Type 2 while an estimated 2,551 children and adolescents (0-19 years) are living with Type 1 diabetes.
In May 2022, World Health Organization (WHO) Member States supported the creation of the first global targets for diabetes, as part of recommendations to strengthen and monitor diabetes responses within national NCD (noncommunicable disease) programs.
To help achieve these global targets for diabetes, the WHO and the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) agreed to develop and implement a joint integrative project in two African countries.
The two countries chosen are Ghana and Uganda with Ghana selected because of its fight against NCDs.
The potential partnership in Ghana aligns with the affordable access pillar of Sanofi’s approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The CSR strategy is one of three major elements of the company’s multi-tiered approach to social impact.
This also includes Sanofi Global Health, a non-profit unit aiming to increase access to healthcare in the lowest income countries, and Foundation S, the Sanofi collective dedicated to philanthropy.
Sanofi is an innovative global healthcare company, driven by a purpose where it chases the miracles of science to improve people’s lives.
Its team, across some 100 countries, are dedicated to transforming the practice of medicine by working to turn the impossible into the possible.
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith