November 2, 2010 – Lifestyle diseases are now responsible for 60% of deaths in developing countries, with diabetes at the core of them, responsible for four-fifths of kidney failure, most cases of preventable blindness, lower limb amputations, heart disease and other organ failure. The disease is a blight that is striking ever more Kenyans, ever younger, with hospitals reporting an increase of up to 50% in serious cases in the last 12 months.
There is no more time for this to be a hidden disease, unchecked, untreated and unaddressed.
Diabetes Kenya unveiled a ‘Diabetes High Alert” on Monday to address this scourge.
Kenya will for the first time be marking World Diabetes Day by joining the international “light-up” for diabetes.
Diabetes Kenya in partnership with Nairobi City Council will on 13th November drape and light up City Hall in blue lights (blue being the Diabetes awareness colour) and launch a blue fireworks display in the CBD, in an event offering free blood glucose and diabetes testing and performances and displays dedicated to putting as many as possible on high alert to this killer.
Working with the Ministry of Health’s Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD-commonly known as lifestyle diseases) desk, Diabetes Kenya has assisted prepare health and treatment guidelines in three volumes as a national standard, becoming the first country in Africa to roll out these strategic and clinical manuals.
Still on Monday, Diabetes Kenya also signed a MOU with Kenya Red Cross on an education and testing programme, beginning in 21 Nairobi schools and with an additional 75 trained Red Cross volunteers countrywide working to spread education, ahead of an expanded information drive in four diabetes hot-spot provinces.
The MOU is the first step in the formation of an NCD alliance pulling together the associations across all the lifestyle diseases, all of which are caused by overlapping issues of eating, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol and tobacco abuse habits.
The drive to form a national alliance to address the spread of a disease now at epidemic proportions comes as the world moves to do the same with Health Ministers meeting next May at the World Health Assembly to launch a global NCD alliance under the leadership of the UN.
These diseases are preventable, with simple changes and early action. Some 90 per cent of diabetes cases are caused through eating and lifestyle choices, and need never go on to ruin the lives of those who succumb.
Diabetes Kenya launched a membership drive and call for volunteers in the campaign to help bring diabetes in Kenya under control.
For more info on Diabetes, check out www.diabeteskenya.org