Dr Sonill Maharaj and his doctoral student, Mr
Jibril Mohammed Nuhu.

Two papers have been submitted for publication in leading international journals by Physiotherapy Lecturer and UKZN PhD candidate, Mr Jibril Mohammed Nuhu, who advocates physical activity for diabetes sufferers in Nigeria.

Nuhu said he could no longer sit by and watch family members and the general population dying from diabetes – a largely preventable disease.

Nuhu is conducting research at a diabetes outpatient clinic in Nigeria where he recently introduced a gym, including a treadmill and mini-trampolines, promoting physical activity as a way of treating scores of diabetes sufferers.

Nuhu said there was a pressing need for increasing physical activity for patients with chronic illnesses such as type-1 and type-2 diabetes in Nigeria.

‘Patients expressed a need for a programme with physical activity and this inspired my PhD. There was an overwhelming uptake for the programme. Everybody is excited about the gym and all the patients want to use the mini-trampolines and treadmill.’

Supervised by UKZN Physiotherapy Discipline’s Academic Leader, Dr Sonill Maharaj, the first of Nuhu’s papers was recently submitted and is currently being given full consideration for publication in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

The paper examines the effect of rebound exercise performed on a mini-trampoline in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) patients by monitoring their glycated haemoglobin, fasting plasma glucose and body mass index.

Evidence suggested that moderate-intensity rebound exercise was safe for non-insulin T2D patients and improved haemoglobin, fasting plasma and body mass index. 

Such exercise could be used as an adjuvant when managing the study population and had the potential to reduce the complications and the human and financial resources required to manage diabetes mellitus in the clinical environment.

The second paper was submitted for publication in the International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries where Maharaj is a member of the review team.

The paper is titled: “The Effect of Exercise and Treadmill Walking on the Quality of Life for Patients with Non-Insulating Dependent Type 2 Diabetes”.

Nuhu’s study found that rebound exercise and treadmill walking could be used to improve quality of life for T2D patients and possibly reduce the side effects and co-morbidities associated with diabetic medication and diabetes.

He said he was excited to see patients developing positive attitudes towards leading active lifestyles regularly attending his gym.

Not only does he possess a decade of experience as an Exercise Lecturer at Nigeria’s Bayero University Kano but he said he also kept active by jogging and brisk walking on every alternative day.

While it required commitment and sacrifice to travel to and from South Africa for his research, his attitude and the excellence he displayed in his work was lauded by Maharaj. 

Nuhu said he loved South Africa and the warmth of its people.