In creating awareness ahead of World Diabetes Day on November 14, a new report by the World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation, has shown death rates from COVID-19 infections are seriously higher in African patients with diabetes.
In the report presented on Thursday, WHO noted that Africa’s sharp increase in diabetes is clashing with the COVID-19 pandemic and poor access to vaccines.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, noted that COVID-19 is delivering a clear message and fighting the diabetes epidemic in Africa is in many ways as critical as the battle against the current pandemic.
The WHO analysis evaluated data from 13 countries on underlying conditions or comorbidities in Africans who tested positive for COVID-19.
It revealed a 10.2 per cent case fatality rate in patients with diabetes, compared with 2.5 per cent for COVID-19 patients overall.
The case fatality rate for people with diabetes was also twice as high as the fatality rate among patients suffering from any comorbidity.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, an estimated 24 million people are living with diabetes in Africa in 2021 and the continent is expected to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally, with the number of Africans suffering from the disease predicted to rise to 55 million by 2045, an increase of 134 per cent compared with 2021.