RIPS Holds RODAM 2015 Research Conference

A cross section of participants

The Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana, in partnership with the European Commission, has organized aresearch conference on Obesity and Diabetes among African migrantsliving in Europe.

The two-dayscientific conference brought together policy makers, researchers, academics and scientists to highlight anddiscussthe key findingsfrom the RODAM study and to develop lasting solutions to the emergent weight-sugar problem.

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor

In a welcome speech, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, commended the RODAM Consortium for the pioneering study. He noted that RODAM, which stands for “Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants,” offered African universities the prospect to engage more in research works. Professor Aryeetey also acknowledged the University’s readiness to expand infrastructure and introduce more research-based courses.

Addressing participants, the foreign-based research-fellowstook turns to point outthe growing burden of obesity and diabetes and its related complications among African migrants in Africa and in Europe. The studyrevealed thatAfrican migrants in high-income countries areparticularly affected and tend to have higher morbidity and mortality from diabetes compared to White people.

A focus-study on Ghanaians living in three European cities- Amsterdam, Berlin and London showed rising levels of obesity and diabetes.Experts saidthe trend was necessitated by rapid lifestyle and dietary changes, genetic predisposition, psychosocial stress as well as cultural perceptions and practices. This has thereforeposed major public health and clinical burdens in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof. Kengne of the University of Cape Town

Professor Andre Pascal Kengne, an Associate Professor at the Department of Medicine of the University of Cape Town,South Africa and aspecialist on the Epidemiology of diabetes in Africa, called on African governments to, as a matter of urgency, institute pragmatic measures to curb the epidemic of diabetes on the continent. He also expressed disapproval on the common practice among Africans to seek healthcare only when the situation becomes worse. This poor attitudetowards seekingtreatment, he said, has been the reason for loss of lives over the years.

Although Africans in Europe and their compatriots in Africa are prone to obesity and diabetes,researchers are hopeful that intensivesensitization of patients and the general public would help in both the short and long terms to reverse the situation.