EHS-COVID (34) WHO: Nearly 1 in 5 COVID-19 deaths in the African region linked to diabetes

13 November, 2020

Extracts below from the WHO Africa regional office website. Read online: https://www.afro.who.int/news/nearly-1-5-covid-19-deaths-african-region-...

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12 November 2020

Brazzaville – The World Health Organization (WHO) finds that 18.3% of COVID-19 deaths in the African region are among people with diabetes, one of the conditions that global studies have found to increase the risk of severe illness and death among patients infected with the virus...

Over the past three decades, the occurrence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in all countries around the world. The African Region has experienced a six-fold increase, from 4 million cases in 1980 to 25 million in 2014. With around 60% of people living with diabetes undiagnosed, the African region has the highest proportion of people unaware of their status. A study in Kenya found that 60% of people diagnosed with the chronic condition were not on medication.

“Far too many people are in the dark as to whether they have diabetes. People with this chronic condition suffer a double blow if they are also infected with COVID-19,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We must turn this around by investing in early detection, prevention and treatment of diabetes.”

At the onset and the peak months of the COVID-19 pandemic, health services for diabetes were particularly disrupted. Only about a third of reporting countries in a WHO survey of 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa indicated that services were fully functional...

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Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org