• Africa WHO director said findings will be dire as many with diabetes don’t know their status, exposing them to “suffer a double blow if they are also infected with Covid".
• In a recent survey of 14 African countries, WHO said 18.3 per cent, or one in every five Covid-19 deaths are among those with diabetes.
As the world observed World Diabetes Day on Saturday, the World Health Organization said one in every five Covid-19 deaths is caused by diabetes.
In a recent survey of 14 African countries, WHO said 18.3 per cent, or one in every five Covid-19 deaths, is among diabetics.
Diabetes is caused when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
The report said diabetes has been found to increase the risk of severe illness and death among patients infected with the coronavirus.
“The risk of complications or death is a challenge as we combat Covid-19. World Diabetes Day is a key moment to call attention to this chronic illness, which is increasingly threatening the lives of Africans," Dr Matshidisio Moeti said.
In Africa, the risk of contracting diabetes has recently increased with intake of sugar, fats and salt-rich diets, causing obesity.
The continent has seen Type 2 diabetes rising dramatically from four million cases in 1980 to 25 million in 2014, a six-fold increase.
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
With early diagnosis and treatment, many harmful effects of the disease can be delayed or avoided.
(Edited by V. Graham)