Live Stream
Radio Ndarason Internationale


Poor people in Borno State cannot afford to keep diabetes under control

15 November 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes

As the cost of living continues to soar, people in Borno State say they are well aware of the dangers of diabetes but they simply cannot afford to follow the proper medical regime.

The exorbitant cost of living is having a profoundly negative effect on thousands of poor people living in Borno State who cannot afford the prescribed medicines or the correct diet to keep the condition under control.

They are well aware of the dangers of diabetes but say they simply cannot afford to follow the proper regimen.

According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.

In the past three decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels, the WHO said.

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself.

The WHO said that globally, about 422 million people have diabetes and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes every year.

Those who are overweight, obese and are physically inactive are most at risk of developing diabetes.

World Diabetes Day is celebrated annually on November 14. The theme this year was “Access to Diabetes Care”. The WHO highlighted the need for equitable access to essential care, including raising awareness of ways people with diabetes could minimise their risk of complications.

Mohammed Kashim, a health practitioner at the New GRA Clinic in Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital, told RNI that those who were diabetic should eat healthy foods at the same time each day so that the body could make better use of the insulin it produces or that is medically controlled.

He said the main reason poor people could not regulate their insulin levels was because of the high cost of living.

“The best way to keep diabetes under control is to eat healthy foods in moderate amounts and stick to regular mealtimes. It’s a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains, lean meat, among others.”

He said it was easier for affluent people to keep to that kind of regimen because they could afford healthier food.

“But the biggest problem in Nigeria’s northeast is poverty and the majority of people simply cannot afford healthy food and the prescribed medicine. I advise poor people to eat the foods they normally eat but in lower quantities. If they eat too much unhealthy foods it can lead to serious health complications. So, this is the best way for poor people to keep their diabetes condition under control.”

He said even before the fuel subsidy was cut, high inflation had resulted in the prices of all commodities increasing. The removal of the fuel subsidy compounded the situation and this had a devastating effect on people living in poverty because they simply could not afford to buy healthy and nutritious food, the prices of which had soared.

Ibrahim Mustapha Shettima, a resident of Maiduguri who has diabetes, told RNI that he was struggling to manage his condition.

“Doctors normally tell patients that they have to eat only certain foods. But these are very expensive and they are not the same foods that we normally eat. The high prices of healthy food are beyond the means of most of us who are poor. So, it is very difficult for us to control our diabetes.”

Maryam Kawo said: “It is imperative for diabetes patients to strictly follow the laid-down rules and conditions set by the doctor, which include medicine and the right foods. If patients do not comply, they will never recover fully.

“But it is difficult for poor people to manage their diabetes by eating only the prescribed foods, such as bread, millet and other zero-sugar foods because of the high cost of living. Even insulin injections have doubled in price. They used to cost between ₦6,000 or ₦7,000. Now they cost about ₦12,000.

“It is stressful for patients who can’t afford to buy the prescribed foods. And they can’t stay hungry, so they eat what they can knowing their health condition could become complicated. But they don’t have a choice.”

Babagana Mala, who also has diabetes, said the exorbitant cost of living was affecting everyone and it was extremely difficult to keep his condition under control.

“I sometimes borrow money from my relatives to pay for medicine and the prescribed foods. But when I have no money, I prefer to stay hungry rather than eat the prohibited foods because I want to avoid any serious health complications.”






Keywords: #Borno State

About the author