Bauchi chapter of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria (DAN) has introduced a 50 per cent subsidy on drugs purchased by diabetic patients at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Teaching Hospital, Bauchi.

Secretary of the association in the state, Mrs Uwa Abubakar, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Thursday that the measure was aimed at making the drugs affordable to the over 3000 registered members of the association in the state.

She said a N1.5 million assistance given to the association by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, would be used to sustain the subsidy.

“Diabetes drugs are very expensive and most of those battling with diabetes in the state are low income earners who cannot afford sustaining themselves on the drugs indefinitely.

“In most cases, condition of members degenerates because of lack of enough resources to keep to the rules, one of which is strict application of drugs.

“We are therefore hopeful that the initiative of subsidizing the drugs will go a long way in addressing the challenge,” she said.

Abubakar however noted that continuing the subsidy arrangement after the N1.5 million had been exhausted, would depend on assistance received from government, individuals or organisations.

“The N1.5million is not a revolving fund and will therefore keep depleting; by the time it gets exhausted, there will be no other money to continue the gesture.

“We are therefore appealing to the state government, public-spirited individuals and organisations, to help in sustaining the gesture,” she pleaded.

The Secretary thanked the management of ATBU Teaching Hospital, for supporting the association with medical personnel and facilities.

According to her, the hospital, which Chief Medical Director, Dr Mohammed Alkali, is the National President of DAN, has assisted immensely in sustaining programmes initiated by the Bauchi chapter of the association.

Meanwhile, some members of the association who spoke to NAN on the subsidy described the initiative as ‘long overdue’.

“On each clinic day, I spend at least N5, 000 in purchasing different types of drugs that will last for just two weeks.

With the 50 per cent subsidy, I will now spend N2, 500 and this is a big relief; N2, 500 in this hard times is no small money,” said Mohammed Aliyu, a pensioner and diabetic patient

Mrs Hauwa Usman, a housewife, lauded the gesture but lamented that its sustenance would depend on further assistance, which might not be easily secured.

“During clinic days, 70 percent of those in attendance are women, meaning that we (women) are the key beneficiaries of the subsidy.

“I am therefore appealing to those who are financial buoyant, to help in funding this arrangement for it to be sustained,” she said.