By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA Lagos
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has been called upon to consider the removal of import duties on essential drugs, especially for diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Diabetes Control Media Advocacy Initiative (DICOMAI) made the request in a Press release titled, “Palliative for Healthcare: Remove Tarriffs on Essential Drugs Imports Now – DICOMAI Urges FG.”
The organization also urged both federal and state governments in the country to make management of diabetes free for children and the elderly.
DICOMAI said that its request should be taken as an urgent measure to reduce the increased cost of managing the diseases in the country.
In the statement signed by its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr. Afoke Isiavwe, and Executive Director, Sam Eferaro, DICOMAI decried the present high costs of drugs following the removal of fuel subsidy and other policies.
It told the government to, as a matter of urgency, come up with measures to make drugs and other medical interventions affordable for the poor.
“At the moment access to healthcare in all parts of the country has become more difficult as the cost of life-saving drugs have gone up beyond the reach of most Nigerians. The situation is worse to people suffering from serious conditions some of which require life-long therapeutic management,” DICOMAI declared.
It expressed concern that many people who are living with diabetes currently have their lives hanging in the balance as the condition is now more difficult, than ever, to control that the cost of drugs and monitoring devices are no longer affordable.
“For some people, they have been forced to stop taking their regular drugs and are at the risk of developing serious complications,” the group stated.
DICOMAI pointed out that no fewer than five million Nigerians are living with diabetes, and like elsewhere in the world, the number of cases is increasing daily.
“The International Diabetic Federation (IDF) estimates that one in every two people with diabetes in the country is undiagnosed, since up to half of persons living with Type 2 diabetes do not have any signs or symptoms of disorder,” DICOMAI said.