The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has said the bank was stepping up awareness campaign and advocacy on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), particularly, the dreaded Diabetes, saying reports from credible organisations had shown that the diseases are spreading rapidly across Africa but regrettably most people are ignorant that they have them. Akinwuntan in his welcome address at a webinar to commemorate this year’s Ecobank Day on Wednesday, said NCDs have been discovered to be the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, stating that the World Health Organisation (WHO) have projected the diseases to exceed other diseases as the most common causes of death across the African continent by 2030.
While commending the sterling work that the government through the Ministry of Health and all the health authorities and their workers in Nigeria are doing in this respect, Mr Akinwuntan, pointed out that the bank was partnering with an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Graceland Diabetes Foundation on its awareness campaign to help prevent the Diabetes disease and the other NCDs in Nigeria. He noted that Ecobank had handed over medical equipment to the Foundation.
“It is with very great pleasure that we have handed over some medical equipment to Graceland Diabetes Foundation on behalf of all of us at Ecobank Nigeria. These include blood sugar and blood pressure testing kits. Graceland Diabetes Foundation can justly be proud of its incredible work in training healthcare professional, in equipping care structures for Diabetes, in field monitoring and evaluation, in advocacy, and in the mobilisation of resources and screening for the disease. They have our greatest admiration.” He stated.
Chairperson, Graceland Diabetes Foundation, Mrs. Otome Mercy Ekpoke, lauded partnership with Ecobank to raise awareness of the disease, noting that the medical equipment donated to the Foundation by the bank would enhance screening of many Nigerians, especially the indigent. Ekpoke, represented by Edet Obongama said the Foundation is an international charity that operates in United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria, stating that the Non-Governmental Organisation focuses on diabetes education/awareness that supports people living with diabetes and those that are at risk of developing diabetes.
Biyi Olagbami,Executive Director and Chief Risk Officer, Ecobank Nigeria, restated the bank’s commitment to collaborating with NGOs to raise necessary awareness to help prevent and manage NCDs, particularly diabetes in Nigeria. Olagbami, who also doubles as the lead CSR champion for Ecobank Nigeria disclosed that as part of the Ecobank Day, the bank donated some medical kits to Graceland Diabetes Foundation to complement their screening efforts.
The annual Ecobank Day, is a day in which Ecobankers voluntarily give up their free time to help deserving causes and is also a focus for the Bank to make donations. Each year, a specific cause is supported. For this year Ecobank Day specifically focused on Diabetes. It has been estimated that 19 million Africans have the disease – although about 60 per cent of them don’t know that they have it. Diabetes can cause all sorts of complications, including kidney damage, sight loss, amputation of feet and even premature death.”