Accelerating the fight against diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa

From Left Pauline Olwande Head of commercial Affair & Strategy, Vinay Ransiwal GM Sub Saharan Africa, Dr Mary Ngome Head of Medical, Regulatory and Quality.
  • Africa Diabetes Pacesetters Initiative is unveiled in Nairobi
  • Ministry of Health asks private sector to partner in data collection for diabetes cases to equip the National Health Data registry
  • Initiative will run for three years and will focus on scientific communication, medical writing skills and evidence generation

The Ministry of Health has called for improved data collection and publications in the fight against diabetes. Speaking during the launch of Africa Diabetes Pacesetters initiative by leading pharmaceutical Novo Nordisk Zachary Muriuki, National Program Officer, Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Division of Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health challenged doctors to facilitate the process by documenting data collected in health facilities and sharing the same with the national health data registry.

“We need to equip our national health data registry with all the findings from the healthcare facilities so that we can intervene effectively and respond to the needs on the ground. We cannot do this alone, we need to work with all the clinicians who are the main interface with our patients ,” he said.

Muriuki emphasized that the Ministry of Health is committed to having strategic Public-Private partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the health sector to implement programs and initiatives that improve quality and comprehensive diabetes care. Elaborating on capacity building, he further said, “This initiative will make a difference in the areas of research, scientific writing, and publications in the area of diabetes in the sub-Saharan region that will inform policy, decision making, and practice.”

The programme aims at building capacity amongst physicians in diabetes care in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative will run for three years and the main components include areas in scientific communication, publications and medical writing skills as well as real world evidence generation in our region.

The Africa Diabetes Pacesetters initiative will have representation from 15 countries in sub-Sahara Africa with an initial 20 physicians from the region. Novo Nordisk has partnered with leading agencies PinT UK and Nature Masterclassess UK to train the Pacesetters.

The training will focus on how to best deliver impactful and effective scientific and medical presentations to a diverse group of stakeholders. Also in focus will be training in writing process for a research article and on the publishing process.

The General Manager of Novo Nordisk Middle Africa Vinay Ransiwal commented during the event saying, “Novo Nordisk will continue to play a key role in patient awareness, training healthcare professionals and strengthening healthcare systems. This will create long-term value for patients, healthcare professions and partners in healthcare and provide competitive solutions to patients’ unmet needs. It takes more than medicine to drive change and defeat diabetes”.

One of the key issues with delayed diabetes diagnosis is the increased risk of complications such as kidney damage, heart disease, blindness, neural damage leading to amputations and an overall reduced life expectancy. These late stage complications are also the most costly to treat and can impact the financial situation of an entire family as well as halting overall economic development.

“We cannot underestimate the increasing role of real world data and real world evidence in informing policy and healthcare decisions. Through the Africa Diabetes Pacesetters initiative, Novo Nordisk aims to equip these powerful voices with the tools and skills needed to ensure that research and publication on diabetes in sub-Sahara Africa is strengthened. The initiative will work to create a Pan-African platform for best practice sharing and networking to defeat diabetes,” said Dr. Mary Ngome, Clinical Medical Regulatory Quality Manager Novo Nordisk Middle Africa.

Diabetes is one of the non-communicable diseases on the rise in sub-Sahara Africa with 7 out of 10 adults having type 2 diabetes and not being aware. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that more than 15.9 million people have diabetes and if this is not addressed soon, the  figure is set to increase by 162% by 2045.

“Chronic diseases such as diabetes are posing an increased threat to our health and our communities. The launch of this initiative will build additional healthcare capacity and strengthen advocacy through scientific communication and real world evidence generation in Africa. This initiative is indeed timely as we prepare to commemorate World Diabetes Day on 14 November,” said Dr. Mary Ngome.

About Novo Nordisk 

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat obesity, haemophilia, growth disorders and other serious chronic diseases. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 43,100 people in 79 countries and markets its products in more than 170 countries.