NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – About one million people are affected by diabetes in the country, according to latest statistics by the Ministry of Public Health.
Director of Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr William Maina stated on Saturday that of this number, about 3,000 people die annually as a result of the condition.
He stressed the need for everyone to know about diabetes so as to be able to live a healthy life.
“Majority of our patients who have diabetes come to our hospital because of another ailment and when you try to look for the cause of the current illness, you find that diabetes is the underlying cause,” Dr Maina said.
He further expounded that many people do not know about their condition until it is too late.
“You find that two-thirds of the people who are diagnosed with diabetes do not know that they have diabetes by the time they are coming to the hospital,” he stated.
He called for the strengthening of recording and statistics systems in the country so as to get accurate statistics about diabetes.
“So many people unknown to us are dying from complications related to diabetes, which are not actually recorded in our statistics,” he emphasised, adding that the recording systems should be fool proof.
”What we should do is to also strengthen our recording and statistics system in the country so that we capture the correct and realistic data for this country because we believe that even the 3.3 percent prevalence that we estimate could be higher,” he explained.
Kenyans have also been urged to pay keen attention to their diet and exercising habits to guard against diabetes.
Kenya Diabetes Management Programmes Director Eva Muchemi pointed out that most diabetics do not get to know about their conditions until after it reaches a critical stage.
She cautioned everyone to ensure that they observe a healthy lifestyle so that they are not affected by it.
“We are asking the people of Kenya to take note that diabetes is becoming prevalent, and it is causing a lot of problems. It is a source of poverty in the families and also in the national budget,” she said, further appealing to people to change their lifestyles and know what to do in case they get the condition.
She was speaking during a Diabetes Walk where a diabetic Mr David Kyania recounted how he has had to live with the condition for nearly ten years.
“I was taking a lot of water and passing also a lot of water. Taking milk and the big soda but still getting thirsty,” Mr Kyania said.
“Diabetes is not a sickness. It is only a sickness only when you show that you are sick. You are just like any other person. I can do anything, I can run, work on the farm and currently, I am a driver with the KBS,” he further added.
About Sh5 million was to be raised during the walk to help beef up the insulin banks in health facilities across the country.