Global experts in the fight against diabetes will be embarking on Cape Town next month to attend the Tackling the Challenges of Diabetes & Obesity (Africa) Conference to unpack the challenges and possible solutions to the growing epidemic across the African continent.

Coinciding with World Diabetes Day, the two-day conference will take place on the 13th and 14th of November 2017 at the Radisson Hotel in Cape Town.

The aim of the conference will be to share insights, innovations and intervention programmes geared at slowing the spread of the disease.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) like diabetes continue to pose a huge threat to emerging economies – especially in Africa. Poorly planned rapid-urbanisation, limited medical infrastructure and lack of nutrition education work as catalysts to spur on the silent killers.

Diabetes has a global prevalence rate of 1 in 11 people, but in Africa this number can be as high as 1 in 5. The socio-economic impact of diabetes is huge – associated maladies such as obesity and physical debilitation have the double negative effect of burdening medical care infrastructure while reducing national productivity.

South Africa has alarming levels of related medical burden. Recently Surgical Chief at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, Professor Thifheli Luvhengo, confirmed that about a third of all beds in surgical wards are taken up by diabetic sepsis related amputations.

“It is rare that a patient with diabetic foot sepsis gets out of hospital within six weeks. These patients end up competing with patients with cancers, people who have been in car accidents and other surgical emergency for limited number of beds available, as they stay long in hospital,” said Prof Luvhengo.

“As a surgeon, this is a cry for help. The epidemic is so huge. We need help not to treat diabetes, but to prevent it,” continued Prof Luvhengo.

One of the global experts expected to attend the up-coming conference is former International Diabetes Federation (IDF) President, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya. During the conference he is expected to release the latest global diabetes data which will form part of the 8th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, set to be released later this year.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit at South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Professor Andre Pascal Kengne, will also be presenting fresh trend data on obesity and diabetes based on a historic 20 year study featured in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Other invited speakers include Director of the Chronic Disease Initiative at the University of Cape Town, Professor Naomi Levitt; Clinical Endocrinologist at Stellenbosch University, Dr Ankia Coetzee; Senior Specialist Scientist at SAMRC, Associate Professor Julia Goedecke; Consultant Endocrinologist at the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Centre, Dr Eva Njenga; Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Yaoundé, Eugene Sobngwi; Professor of Global Health at Kings College, London and Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Justine Davies; and Head of Pathology at University College Dublin, Ireland and bariatric surgery and obesity specialist, Professor Carel Le Roux.

The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Commission will also be presenting on the challenges of dealing with diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa.

This conference is open to the public with limited tickets currently available online. More information about the event can be found here, or contact Heather Bones on or +44 (0)20 3137 9565.

For more information contact, like us on Facebook or tweet us @eHealthNewsZA.