In the wake of the disruption across sectors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an opportunity to use technology to improve on existing processes and better manage chronic diseases in Nigeria, especially for chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus. Dr. Michael A. Olamoyegun from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital writes that telemedicine can play a vital role to help keep track of records and interact with patients without putting them at risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.
People with diabetes who are shielding from social contacts have struggled to access their medicine during the pandemic. In collaboration with a diabetes patient group in South Africa and Diabetes South Africa, Diabetes Africa led an initiative to create a medicine collection form for third parties. The important thing was to ensure buy-in from the pharmacies by providing sufficient guarantees to verify the identity of the patient and document the patient’s consent to have someone pick up their medicines on their behalf. Read more to find out how Diabetes Africa worked with Luleka Mzuzu to create the form and accompanying guidance note.
For the first time in 22 years and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual forum of the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (South Africa) will be online. To bring knowledge and discussions to hundreds of healthcare professionals from across Africa, the CDE is adopting a new format, adapted to COVID-19 restrictions. Dr Larry Distiller, the founder of the centre, talks about the challenges and opportunities brought about by the pandemic, and reviews the programme of the event with us.
Despite the multiplication of telemedicine applications and services and the appetite of investors for a potentially huge market, telehealth and remote consultations in Nigeria are in their infancy: a lot remains to be done to structure, popularise and effectively practice telemedicine.
COVID-19 has acted as an accelerator and many hospitals are in the process of setting up dedicated telemedicine units. But physicians and specialists did not wait. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many have taken on themselves to reach out to patients by phone, messages and -more rarely- video calls, often providing a lifeline to those affected by chronic diseases. However, healthcare professionals are keen to emphasize that not everything can be done remotely, and patients can miss important signs of complications.
During an event organised by Diabetes Africa, participants discussed telemedicine in Nigeria, its potential and its limitations when caring for people with diabetes. There is a case to better document and develop guidance for healthcare professionals, not all of whom are experts in diabetes. Or in telemedicine.
Dr Olubiyi Adesina is an endocrinologist, a former columnist at the Sunday Sun newspaper and the Chairman of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria (Ogun State Chapter). We met with him to discuss his story, hopes and plans to improve diagnosis and care in Africa.
Two leading private diabetes care institutions in Africa met virtually to share their stories and discuss multidisciplinary diabetes care models across the continent: the Lions Diabetes Care Centre of MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya and the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Some fifty-eight healthcare professionals, medical and pharmaceutical business executives joined in the live discussion on 4th June. Their objective? To identify the key elements that a private healthcare provider should consider before establishing a diabetes clinic. This event was part of Diabetes Africa’s ‘Active Conversations’ series, examining diabetes care in a changing world.