Accra, Ghana – The number of diabetes cases and the associated health care budget has been increasing worldwide. It has thus become a growing public health burden for patients, health care providers, and society. The cost of diabetes study has been used to identify the burden of the disease, possible areas for future intervention and priority setting in health care and research.

The study, “Analysis of the Financial Cost of Diabetes Mellitus in Four Cocoa Clinics of Ghana,” was published in Value in Health Regional Issues focusing on CEEWAA Volume 7 (September/October 2015).

Researchers from the Ghana Cocoa Board Medical Department and the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, estimated and analysed the financial cost of managing diabetes mellitus in four Cocoa clinics in Ghana in the 2009 fiscal year. The mean age of patients in the study suggests late diagnosis of diabetes mellitus which affects the clinical state of patients. Over 90% of the diabetes patients had one or more complications that had significant cost implications according to this study. The cost of managing diabetes with complications was more than twice the amount spent on diabetes without complications. Epidemiological data suggest that, in most populations at least 50%, and in Tanzania 80-90%, people with diabetes have not been diagnosed. In Ghana, it has been reported that 69.9% of diabetes patients are undiagnosed as a result of a lack of diabetes awareness and thus present late with complications.

Pharmacist Isaac Adupong MA, Country Manager, Merck Serono (Initiators of Diabetes Awareness Camps with the objective of screening and educating over 19,000 communities in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda) stated, “In a developing country like Ghana, with lots of constraints on health care finance, it is imperative to avoid future high health care costs by implementing smart and strategic approaches that are more cost-effective in the long term. This approach does not seem to come easily to health care practitioners although it’s been proven to be more cost-sustainable than the current approach of treating complications. The situation is made worse by the fact that most patients don’t have any symptoms in the early stages of diabetes and therefore do not find reason to seek medical attention until they are close to complications.”

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