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Diabetes in Africa: epidemiology, management and healthcare challenges


Diabetes is an increasing problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is becoming more prevalent owing to rising rates of obesity, physical inactivity and urbanisation. Type 1 diabetes exists in two major forms in the region: type 1A or autoimmune and type 1B or ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes. At present there are scanty epidemiological data on either. The current morbidity of diabetes is primarily due to the high rates of microvascular complications, while macrovascular complications, once rare, are becoming more common, particularly in the urban setting. Further, despite the HIV epidemic, the total number of people with diabetes in the region is expected to grow because of changing demography. A concerted multisectoral effort will be critical to ensuring improvement in healthcare delivery for people with diabetes in the region.

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