, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13- Kenyans have been urged to observe proper eating habits in order to prevent lifestyle ailments such as diabetes.
Speaking as the World Diabetes Day was commemorated on Sunday, Diabetes Kenya Association Chairperson Kirtida Acharya said preventing the disease would help the country manage the current infection rate.
She added that Kenyans should regularly test their blood sugar levels so as to avert possible infections.
“The prevalence rate is said to be between three to eight percent which is roughly two million Kenyans. But then those are the ones who already know so for every diagnosed person there are two persons out there who are diabetic and they don’t know,” she explained.
Dr Acharya who further noted that living with the disease was an expensive affair for patients also asked the government to reduce the cost of medicine required by diabetics.
“We have over 25,000 children in Kenya who have diabetes and more than 50 percent of these cannot afford their life saving insulin as the basic health care that they need so we are really urging the government to make these resources more available,” she said.
She however observed that there were already efforts made by the government in an attempt to bring down the cost of treating and managing diabetes.
“But we still need to continue lobbying for the reduction in treatment costs because there are other colliding epidemics like malaria and HIV/AIDS which are often deemed as ‘bigger’ and more serious,” she said.
Dr Acharya explained that the excessive consumption of fatty and sugary foods hampered the pancreas from performing its functions adequately.
“Fruits and vegetables in moderation are really good because of their natural fibre as well as antioxidant properties. Avoid alcohol and other refined carbohydrates; instead of reaching out for a soda, take water or fresh juice instead,” she observed.
She added that white meat as opposed to red meat was better.
High tents were pitched along City-Hall way which remained closed for the better part of the day as celebrations to mark the global event got underway.
Blue balloons had been set up outside City Hall together with small blue light-bulbs which would be lit up in the evening to honor the annual event. A display of fireworks was also set up for the event.
“Blue is the universal color for diabetes and we plan to light up City Hall in blue as well as paint Nairobi blue. We will also roll out our diabetes programmes in 100 City Council clinics where Kenyans will get free screening for diabetes and hypertension,” she said.
Dr Acharya further urged Kenyans to go for the free screening and free medical counsel.
“Every Kenyan should be here today taking advantage of these. There are other smaller programmes taking place in other parts of the country which have been running since Monday but today is the finale,” she noted.