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High cost of diabetes drugs threatens patients

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Diabetes which has become one of the most common sicknesses in Liberia is threatening the lives of patients due to the high cost of diabetes drugs on the local market, a local health official has said.

DrCaullau J. Howe, Director of Country Services at the Ministry of Health told a group of journalists Tuesday November 1, in Monrovia at anInternews Health Journalism fellowship workshop that the high cost of diabetes drugs here, have made it impossible for families with low income to purchase the drugs for their sick love ones.

“Diabetes is a rich man sickness,” she said. “It’s not for people who do not have money because the drugs dose is US $30 and three doses are required for a treatment, making it difficult for people in Liberia to afford,” she noted.

Dr. Howe said people in rural areas do not have access to these drugs because they are expensive for their income. She said the sickness cannot be cure but it can be suppressed by the medication, diet and exercises.

The Health official said there is an increase in diabetes cases here due to inadequate drugs and medical supplies. She says the lacks of qualified health workers here too is a contributing factor.

Diabetes prevalence rate at the country’s referral hospital,the John F. Kennedy or JFKrose from 947 cases in 2015 to 1227 cases in 2016. She explained that diabetes is not a communicable disease but it’s inherited. She says people who normally suffered from diabetes are between the ages of 29-79.

The symptoms of diabetes, Dr. Howe said, can be compared to any other ailment and until the victim is tested, it is difficult to know what is actually happening to the person. She said for those in rural areas where there are no access to health facilities, a possible test could be through their urine. She says whenever ants gather over a person’s urine; its means the person sugar level is high.

She attributed the high level of diabetes cases here to the country’s stable food which is rice and other sweets that are consume on a daily basis. “Liberians need to start making good use of vegetables and fruits in order to cut down so many fats in the body. The sickness is dangerous because if you have a cut on your body, it will not be cured,” she warned.

By Ethel A Tweh-Edited By Othello B. Garblah

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