Just weeks after The Pendsey Trust spoke to Paul Buchanan, founder of The Great Britain Diabetes Online Community (#GBDOC), we had the pleasure to chat with Adejumo Hakeen from its Nigerian arm. The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community (#NGDOC) is an organisation that provides social activities involving education and peer support for people living with diabetes.
Adejumo explains that the challenges in Nigeria are not dissimilar from those faced by the young people The Pendsey Trust is involved with in India. “In Nigeria, access to accurate information about diabetes is still limited, so knowledge about how to live with the disease is very poor among the majority,” says Adejumo. This, he says, “has a negative impact on the quality of life in many cases”. The problem is yet increased by the high cost of purchasing drugs and insulin which can be a real challenge for low income earners in the region. As a result, many simply cannot afford the medication.
In addition, many people living with diabetes in Nigeria who are not getting adequate peer support often go to traditional healers who claim they are able to cure diabetes. This is one of the main reasons for late presentations at clinics and increased complications.
Recognising these problems, Adejumo set up The NGdoc along with his colleague Odewale Halima just over a year ago following the success of the #GBDOC. The community now has four directors and 20 volunteers who strive tirelessly to achieve its vision. “The use of social media is increasing in Nigeria with many young people now involved,” says Adejumo. “Therefore, it was imperative to create a platform that serves to empower and educate people about diabetes,” he adds. The work carried out by NGdoc now extends to community based health work, screening, diabetes education and school health programmes.
The Pendsey Trust wishes NGdoc every success in raising awareness of diabetes in Nigeria, and for achieving its overall vision “to have a diabetes advocate in each Nigerian family”.