‘Diabetes a topic of concern’
By Sulayman Waan
Dr Ismail D. Badjie, PharmD has said the prevalence of diabetes in The Gambia has been a topic of concern over past years owing to its health effect among the populace.
According to data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2021 report, the total adult population of The Gambia had a diabetes prevalence of 1.6%, translating to about 18,100 total cases of diabetes in adults.
In a statement shared to this medium, the health expert said: “Between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, there’s significant information to consider.
“Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, necessitating daily insulin injections for those affected. Symptoms typically develop quickly, and if untreated, it can lead to a life-threatening diabetic coma.”
He added that Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases, is often associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, and physical inactivity. It is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents as well. The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes tend to develop more gradually compared to Type 1,” he said.
In a recent publication, Sukai Kah, training facilitator for the Gambia Diabetes Association (GDA) tasked The Gambia government to give priority to diabetic patients to minimise their complications and suffering.
She said health personnel should have enough medication and medical apparatus such as insulin and testing machines to check patients’ blood pressure and give them the needed information so that patients could manage their diabetes well. According to her, this would help prevent patients from diabetic amputation.
BMC Cardiovascular Disorders an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on the characterisation, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulatory system published in April 2022 said diabetes is increasingly becoming a public health problem in developing countries like The Gambia.
“Prevention of diabetes and appropriate management of the disease largely depends on correct knowledge of the risk factors and signs and symptoms of the condition. However, studies that have assessed knowledge of diabetes at population level are limited. We examined the knowledge of diabetes risk factors, and signs and symptoms among Gambian adults,” the journal added.
The journal further said among men, 7.6% and 3.1% had knowledge about diabetes risk factors, and signs and symptoms, respectively.
“Approximately 3.1% and 1.2% of the women included in the analysis had knowledge of diabetes risk factors, and signs and symptoms, respectively. Men who were aged 35 years were more likely to have knowledge regarding diabetes risk factors (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.12–3.22), and signs and symptoms (AOR = 2.59, 95% CI = 1.08–6.17).”
Having access to media was associated with increased odds of having knowledge regarding diabetes risk factors (AOR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.09–2.37) and signs and symptoms (AOR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.07–3.88) among men. Among other factors, educational level was positively associated with having diabetes knowledge among both men and women. Heterogeneities regarding diabetes knowledge were observed among different regions and areas of residence,” it said.
The journal stated that there is a need to improve awareness regarding diabetes in The Gambia as low knowledge has been observed, adding that programs aimed at improving diabetes knowledge should consider regional and areas of residence variations in their designs.