ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 50 P220 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.50.P220

The diabetologist as a medical columnist: a 7-year experience

Olubiyi Adesina

Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Nigeria, Talabi Diabetes Centre, Isara Remo, Nigeria.

Background: The Medical columnist has not always been welcomed by the Medical Community.The Lancet, in its August 30, 1873 editorial had pointed out with regrets that a weekly periodical, the English Mechanic and World of Science had inaugurated a medical column edited by a member of the London medical establishment. The editorial had concluded that “we cannot but regard such conduct as an infraction of the etiquette of the profession, and hardly worthy of a Fellow of the College of Physicians and officer of a London hospital”. What was squashed more than a century ago as being unacceptable is today understood and supported. Diabetes is a disease state in which education plays a highly significant role in prevention and management. The Nigerian media; both print and electronic has been awash over the last decade with half truths and outright falsehood about diabetes peddled by self-styled alternative medicine “Consultants”.

Methods: A Column titled “Diabetes corner” ran from February 2009 to March 2016 in The Sunday Sun, Nigeria’s widest circulating Newspaper. The column educated individuals with and without diabetes. Readers were given the opportunity of communicating with the authour via voice calls, short message services (SMS) or email.

Results: Three thousand, nine hundred and twenty six (3926) SMS messages were received.

Table 1 Grouping of questions asked via SMS.
Question groupFrequencyPercentage
Life expectancy with diabetes721.8
Prevention of diabetes741.9
Fears about insulin use822.1
Foot complications2005.1
Diabetes complications2566.5
Cure for diabetes65016.6
Erectile dysfunction/fertility70017.8
Worries about poor control75219.2
Efficacy of herbal remedies88222.5

Conclusion: Newspapers are a viable resource in educating the populace. Orthodox medical practitioners must pick up the gauntlet of diabetes education and begin to use the print media to counter the currentlt prevalent misinformation and superstitions about diabetes.

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