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Diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa – Overview of a Looming Health Challenge
jointly issued a Diabetes Declaration and Strategy for Africa.
The Declaration and Strategy for Africa
is a starting point that should be
declaration is a call to action for governments of African countries and used by the different countries of the region to bring diabetes to the
all partners and stakeholders in diabetes to prevent diabetes and related forefront, and at the same time to facilitate the adoption of a structured
non-communicable diseases and to improve quality of life and reduce and holistic approach to establishing a diabetes control programme. n
morbidity and premature mortality from diabetes (see ‘The Diabetes
Declaration for Africa – Call to Action’, opposite).
Felix K Assah is a doctoral student at the Medical
Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge. His
Conclusion current research is looking at objectively measured
Diabetes is an emerging public health problem in SSA that must be
physical activity patterns and metabolic health in urban
and rural Cameroon. Dr Assah qualified from the
addressed and contained. Its current burden may not confer it a high
Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the
ranking in the list of health problems of this poor continent. However, it University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon.
would be counterintuitive to wait for diabetes to move up the list of
priorities before appropriate action is taken.
Jean-Claude Mbanya is a Professor of Medicine and
Diabetes research and care in Africa will need to build on the current
Endocrinology in the Faculty of Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences at the University of Yaoundé I in
knowledge and technologies available from other parts of the world.
Cameroon. He is President Elect of the International
However, a direct transposition may not be a realistic or pragmatic plan
Diabetes Federation (IDF). Professor Mbanya has
since these models will have to be re-moulded into the specificities of
worked extensively in Africa and worldwide on
advocacy for diabetes. His research has focused on the
the African context. Country-specific data on the burden of the disease
epidemiology and public health aspects of diabetes in
are urgently required, together with a clear understanding of the extent
Cameroon and Africa.
of national policies for the prevention and care of diabetes. The Diabetes
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