This Generation Is Waking Up To The Horrors Of Diabetes

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By Tonny Ingutia

According to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report, Africa leads the world in undiagnosed diabetes, increasing the risk of serious illness and death. This is despite the fact that two-thirds of diabetic patients in Kenya are undiagnosed, posing a significant challenge to the health sector.

What you should know:

*Diabetes management challenges in Kenya include insufficient insulin supply, delayed screening, access to consumables such as syringes and glucometers, and a lack of education due to underfunding and insufficient human resources.

*Other stumbling blocks in Africa’s journey to eradicate diabetes include a lack of testing facilities and equipment, an insufficient number of trained health personnel, poor access to health facilities, and a lack of diabetes awareness.

*Diabetes cases are expected to rise from 24 million to 55 million as a result

WHO explains that in Kenya, three out of 10 people are likely to have diabetes and that the rate is likely to go up to four out of 10 by 2025. Because of low levels of awareness about the disease, the country’s progress towards fighting and eradicating diabetes becomes a more difficult task.

According to Afyacode, a medical health and wellness platform, cases of diabetes in Kenya have risen because of increased consumption of unhealthy dies, inadequate physical activity and obesity. In different counties, gender, age and presence of underlying conditions play a significant role on whether a person will become diabetic.

 Diabetes Management Challenges

In counties such as Isiolo, Othaya, Mukurweini, Thika and Meru, the diabetic ratio is 310,30,30,20 and four per 10,000. The most common type of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes in counties such as Isiolo, Meru and Thika with 98,96 and 94 per cent respectively,” says Afyacode.

Challenges in the management of diabetes in Kenya include inadequate insulin supply, delayed screening, access to consumables such as syringes and glucometers and lack of education. This is due to underfunding and inadequate human resources.

Other stumbling blocks in Africa’s journey to eradicate diabetes include a lack of testing facilities and equipment, an insufficient number of trained health personnel, limited access to health facilities, and a lack of diabetes awareness. As a result, diabetes cases are expected to increase from 24 million to 55 million by 2050.

“In the African region, premature diabetes deaths (defined as deaths occurring before the age of 70) are 58%, higher than the global average of 48%, while the region’s age-standardised diabetes death rate is 48 per 100,000 populations, more than double the global rate of 23 per 100,000.” Only one in every two people in the region has type 1 diabetes.

Management and Control

A lack of diagnosis is one of the greatest challenges facing Africa, according to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti. 

Diabetes is a silent killer without testing. There are several barriers to tackling diabetes, but the rising prevalence of the disease should serve as a wakeup call to improve health care, improve diagnosis, access to life-saving diabetes medicines, and prioritize diabetes as a major health challenge, says Dr Moeti.

When the world celebrated World Diabetes Day on November 14, whose theme was Access to Diabetes Care, policy makers were urged to increase awareness of the disease. This was to help people with diabetes worldwide. 

While WHO asked for access to affordable insulin for those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and access to cholesterol lowering drugs for people aged 40 and above, the International Diabetes Federation said healthcare professionals must know how to detect and diagnose the condition early and provide the best possible care. 

They also called for access to continuous education for people living with diabetes, which they said will help them to understand their condition and stay healthy and avoid complications.

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