Most tropical developing countries have traditionally been known to have a very high prevalence of infectious or communicable disease like tuberculosis and malaria. While these diseases still predominate, in recent years owing to modern development and a drastic changes in lifestyle and diet the non-communicable or lifestyle disease are becoming equally burdensome in these countries.
The number of patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and other non-communicable diseases is rising drastically, especially amoungst the urban dwellers.
Diabetes EpidemiologyThe following paragraphs compiled using information from the International Diabetes Federation website http://www.idf.org/ will give the reader some idea of the situation:
Diabetes mellitus is now one of the most common non-communicable diseases globally and is undoubtedly one of the most challenging health problems in the 21st century. It is now recognized that it is the low- and middle income countries that face the greatest burden of diabetes.
Between 2010 and 2030 the number of people living with diabetes world wide is estimated to rise:
World wide by: 54% from 284,611 million to 438,435 million.
In the Western Pacific by: 47% from 76,709 million to 112,777 million
In PNG by: 140% from 71,500 to 172,000
In Solomon Islands by: 160% from 6,100 to 15,000
Fig 1: Comparison of percentage increase in numbers of people with diabetes worldwide, western pacific and PNG.
Need for diabetes testing
In their paper “A survey of diabetes services in hospitals in PNG” published in the PNG Medical Journal in 2001, G.D. Ogle et al found that testing for complications (including Urinary microalbuminuria and creatinin) was very limited and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) testing is available in only one centre, Port Moresby. Unfortunately these tests have been unavailable for several years now at this centre since the survey was conducted. A__Survey_of_Diabetes_Services_in_Hospitals_in_Papua_New_Guinea__PDF_
The authors concluded that the services are limited and the expansion of services and awareness and prevention programs are urgently needed.
Glycoslysated haemoglobin (HbA1c), Urinary microalbuminuria (UMA) and creatinin (UC) are all essential tests to have as part any diabetes service.
This highlights the need to have in place better equiped diabetes clinics if we are to control the alarming rise of diabetes. The situation and needs in the other South Pacific Countries is likely to be similar.