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WHO: 18% of Covid-19 deaths in Africa linked to diabetes

CAPE TOWN – The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa office said on Thursday that more than 18 percent of Covid-19 deaths in Africa are among patients who were suffering from diabetes.

Global studies earlier in the pandemic found that diabetes came with an increase in risk of severe illness and death in patients infected with Covid-19.

As World Diabetes Day approaches on the 14 November, the World Health Organisation analysed 14 African countries that provided information and data on Covid-19 and comorbidities, finding over 18 percent of deaths on the continent had links to diabetes with general populations with high percentages of obesity.

“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, WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti. “We must turn this around by investing in early detection, prevention and treatment of diabetes.”

The WHO said, ‘’the African region is also witnessing a rise in diabetes risk factors such as obesity. Increasingly sedentary lifestyle and consuming foods rich in sugar, fats and salt is heightening obesity, ranging from 2.5% of adults in Burundi to 26.9 % in Seychelles.’’

“We must not lose sight of other health challenges as we combat COVID-19. World Diabetes Day is a key moment to call attention to this chronic illness, which is increasingly threatening the lives of Africans,” Moeti said.

According to WHO, there are over 1.9 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa with more than 1.6 million recoveries and 45 000 deaths.

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