Publication date: 
November 16, 2016

Originally posted by Novo Nordisk on November 16, 2016

Nairobi, Kenya, 16 November, 2016: A new report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington highlights the substantial prevalence of diabetes in Africa. The report was launched at a Pan African World Diabetes Day Forum hosted by Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company and global leader in diabetes care, together with the Ministry of Health and the Royal Danish Embassy.

According to IHME, 30% of all deaths from diabetes worldwide occur in countries that score lowest on an index of development, bringing a double burden of disease – from both communicable and non-communicable diseases – to many countries in Africa. The report also states that in several countries and regions of Africa, including Southern sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco, diabetes is the leading cause of non-communicable disease-related disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), a metric that represents the sum of years of life lost and years lived with disability.

IHME also states that diabetes rates in 2015 in Western sub-Saharan Africa were 15.1% higher for women than men, and 33.3% higher for women in Southern sub-Saharan Africa.

“In countries where diabetes or cardiovascular disease was worse than expected based on current levels of development, women frequently bore a greater share of this burden,” said Dr. Tom Achoki, Clinical Assistant Professor at IHME.

During the Forum, and as a response to the continuing burden of diabetes, Novo Nordisk announced the expansion of its Base of Pyramid Project (BoP), a sustainable initiative rolled out in Africa in 2010 to facilitate access to diabetes care for the working poor in the low and middle income countries. Since its initiation, the project has seen the price of insulin lowered by 70% in Kenya and has screened more than 20,000 people for diabetes.

With a successful implementation in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, the project will now expand into Senegal, where the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) expects the number of people with diabetes to grow by 146% by 2040.

“We need to work in partnerships to ensure sustainability of the fight against diabetes. As the world’s largest producer of generic human insulin, we see it is both a corporate responsibility and a business opportunity to support local health authorities in making sure that insulin is accessible and affordable to the middle and low income patient,” said Jean-Paul Digy, Corporate Vice President of Novo Nordisk Business Area Africa, who tomorrow Thursday 17 November will open the company’s third Kenyan Center of Excellence in Diabetes Care in Nakuru County.

“In Senegal, we are working to decentralise diabetes care by establishing two centres of excellence and training of healthcare professionals while improving affordability and accessibility of treatment through integration of organizations providing health coverage. We are also working on establishing a mobile diabetes clinic to reach remote areas,” he adds.  

The project will be a partnership among the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Non-Communicable Diseases Division, the Agency for Universal Health Coverage, the National Federation of Mutual of Senegal, the Senegalese Association Diabetic Support and Novo Nordisk. It builds on the learnings and achievement gained from the work in Kenya. This  effort was highlighted by Dr. Joseph Kibachio, Head of Division NCDs, Ministry of Health, Kenya, during the Forum. He said partnerships like this help to provide improved healthcare and increase accessibility of treatment in response to the increasing burden of diabetes in Kenya.

“The government of Kenya welcomes innovative and dynamic healthcare investments. Public-private partnerships hint to achieve the sustainable development goals of ensuring proper healthcare for all,” he asserted.

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious chronic conditions: haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 42,600 people in 75 countries and markets its products in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.

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