DIABETES MELLITUS 101: Cost of Diabetes Treatment in Nigeria.

Diabetes Facts

– anyone can be diabetic; risk factors includes family history, obesity, etc

– there are different types of diabetes; type 1, type 2, gestational and prediabetes

– diabetes cannot be cured

– diabetes can be prevented/managed

– lifestyle changes is essential in diabetes

– about 5 million Nigerians are diabetic and another 9 million have prediabetes

– Africa has the highest proportion of undiagnosed people

– 3 in 5 people living with diabetes do not know they have it.

– 3 in 4 of people living with diabetes live in low and middle income countries

– greatest number of people with diabetes are between 40 and 59 years of age

– the proportion of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in most countries.

– Diabetes is estimated to be the 7th leading cause of Death globally. This is estimated to be underreported as Diabetes complicates a LOT of illness. Infact, Diabetes almost always makes your prognosis worse. Case in Point, COVID.

– Global prevalence of Diabetes among adults has steadily risen over the years, and is currently 8%. This means more and more people have Diabetes. Its also depresses the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections


Diabetes mellitus is a disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes,your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.


Type 1 Diabetes: diabetes occurs because the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (beta cells) are damaged.

Type 2 Diabetes: the pancreas makes insulin, but it either doesn’t produce enough, or your body cells especially your muscles does not respond to insulin properly. This is known as insulin resistance

Gestational diabetes: this occurs when there is a high blood glucose level during pregnancy. This is probably as a result of estrogen amd progesterone which are present in high levels in pregnancy. These hormones suppress insulin production by the pancreas and may also cause insulin resistance.

What causes diabetes?

👉Family history of diabetes.
👉Being overweight/obese
👉Use of certain medications,including steroids
👉Injury to the pancreas (such as infection, tumor or accident).
👉Autoimmune disease.
👉High blood pressure.
👉Abnormal blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
👉Age (risk increases with age).
👉History of gestational diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

➡️Increased thirst.
➡️Increased hunger (especially after eating).
➡️Dry mouth.
➡️Frequent urination.
➡️Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry).
➡️Weak, tired feeling.
➡️Blurred vision.
➡️Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
➡️Slow-healing sores or cuts.
➡️Dry and itchy skin.
➡️Frequent yeast infections or urinary tract
➡️infections especially of the skin.

Complications of diabetes

-Delayed wound healing leading to gangrene (Diabetic foot)
-Blurry vision (Diabetic retinopathy)
-Increased risk of death (if not controlled) especially in COVID19 patients
– Blindness
– Lower Limb Amputation
– Kidney Failure
– Strokes
– Heart Attacks.

Treatment of Diabetes

The treatment of diabetes multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary with your endocrinologist and playing a lead role.

➡️It involves the use of drugs

➡️Diet management


➡️regular tests especially sugar checks

➡️weight management

This problem here is the money to successful carry out the rigorous treatment that diabetes demands.👇

Now what is the Cost of Diabetes Treatment in Nigeria?

As a doctor, with the number of interactions i have had with diabetic patients, i have come to realise that diabetic treatment is quite expensive.

This is because, unlike the huge subsidy for drugs which HIV patients and tuberculosis patients enjoy from the Federal Government of Nigeria and other donor agencies (they get free drugs), diabetics do out-of-pocket payments for drugs and other ancillary treatments.Even the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), do not cover most essential diabetic drugs.

DIABETES MELLITUS 101: Cost of Diabetes Treatment in Nigeria
A diabetic must have a glucometer for regular sugar checks

To be more specific, an average Nigerian that is diabetic spend close to N50,000 naira or more on treatment monthly. This monthly spending covers drugs (like insulin, metformin, dionil,insulin syringes etc),foot care, eye care, regular glucose tests (please get your own glucometer to cut cost), kidney function tests, urine tests and seeing a doctor at least once in a month for specialist consultations.

PS: Diabetes has no cure (with scientific evidence) but can be managed. Diabetes is preventable, however people living with diabetes can live a quality life if detected early and adequate control initiated.


Oluseyi Adenowo MPSN @DiabetesCareIn3

Osagie Merry

Dr Udomoh

Dr Afam John


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