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Diabetes rates rising rapidly in Africa

The number of people developing diabetes has increased rapidly in Africa since 1990 with rising rates on the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar, being particularly alarming.
According to a report released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) the diabetes prevalence rate in Mauritius is 17 per cent. However, estimates from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) suggest that the prevalence in the country may be 24 per cent.
As in other parts of the world, type 2 diabetes makes up the vast majority of diabetes cases in Africa.
The report has also shown how diabetes is leading to an increase in cardiovascular disease within younger people and women in sub-Saharan Africa compared to other world regions.
The rising diabetes figures will be discussed as part of the Pan-African convention which is taking place in Nairobi.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a prediction that by 2030 there could be 18.2 million Africans with diabetes if rates continue the way they are.
It is thought there are currently 7 million people with the condition and a growing reliance on processed food in the diet is being blamed for the sharp rise.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan said: “Diabetes and its complications impact harshly on the finances of individuals, their families and the economies of nations.
“As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States have set an ambitious target to reduce premature mortality from NCDs – including diabetes – by one third; achieve universal health coverage; and provide access to affordable essential medicines – all by 2030. We have an enormous task at hand.”
The WHO has issued an urgent call for action to be taken on diabetes and for work to begin immediately on preventing and treating the condition.
The organisation states that many people in Africa do not know they have the condition and therefore do not receive treatment.

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