Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



South Africa’s diabetes crisis: 96 000 likely to die by end of 2021

Judith Garcia, 19, fills a syringe as she prepares to give herself an injection of insulin at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Commerce, Calif., Sunday, April 29, 2012. A   -  
Copyright © africanews
Reed Saxon/AP

South Africa

South Africa risks losing an estimated 96 000 lives to diabetes by the end of 2021. The prevalence of diabetes in South Africa is the highest in Africa, reaching 11.3%.

"What I'm saying is that the disease is complex and affects a number of systems. It is often diagnosed very late and by the time it is diagnosed you find that patients have already have complications which can impact quality of life and even contribute to reduce life expectancy for patients." Dr Tobeka Boltina, Novo Nordisk Medical Affairs Director stated.

The shocking reality in South Africa is that just under half of people living with diabetes are undiagnosed. Doctors are warning that when diabetes is undetected it poses serious life-threatening complications.

According to the Head of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospital, Dr Sindeep Bhana, "We need media, churches, societies to get put there and let our people know that they need to test their sugar levels. They can go to communities, clinics and general practitioners, gyms can do it. It is a simple test. One needs to be aware of who is likely to be sitting with diabetes or going to get diabetes."

Global diabetes treatment has reached a milestone globally. This year marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin.

"As we herald the development of insulin as a life changing discovery, it is also important to note that within the insulin there's been progression in terms of innovation and looking at insulins that address unmet needs relating to both doctor and patient." Dr Tobeka Boltina stated.

The International Diabetes Federation reveals that cost of diabetes related health expenditure in South Africa has risen to one thousand seven hundred US dollars per person, totalling an estimated seven point two billion US dollars.

View more