, MOMBASA, Kenya, Dec 7 – Fifty children and young adults from Mombasa, Malindi and Kilifi have undergone a three-day free diabetes training in a bid to reduce the information gap among young people living with diabetes.
Speaking during the awarding of certificates to participants, mostly aged between 8-18 years who attended the training organised by Safaricom Foundation in partnership with Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMI), Safaricom Foundation Trustee Janice Mwendameru noted the importance of the youth camps for the young people to enhance their skills on diabetes self-management.
“With the growing cases of diabetes among young children and the youth, these camps have been designed to ensure that there is continuous training of youth living with diabetes on how to manage it,” Mwendameru said .
DMI Executive Director Eva Muchemi urged parents to take their children for regular tests to ensure diabetes in managed early as opposed to waiting until the damage is done.
“We would advocate for everybody who is above 25 to have a blood sugar test, for parents to watch out for young people who urinate very many times, who are drinking a lot of water, who are always looking tired to just take them for a blood sugar test—for young people we know the symptoms can be very dramatic, because if they are not treated they can go into a coma,” advised Muchemi.
She also noted that one of the major impediments to diabetes management was lack of accurate statistics on the number of Kenyans living with diabetes.
“There is no data that has been collected on diabetes in Kenya and this is the time the government is embarking on data collection to establish the diabetes burden in the country,” she said adding that the lack of accurate data had contributed greatly to the existing information gap.
Statistics indicate that 1.8 million Kenyans are living with diabetes, of these, five percent which translates to 90,000 are children and youth.
Muchemi added that institutions dealing with diabetes management needed to be urged to conduct more awareness programs to ensure a free flow of information on diabetes to ensure that lifestyles and ways of living are managed.
Mombasa County Education secretary Lewa Mtana noted Muchemi’s concern saying a child development assessment would be initiated to ensure all records of a child are maintained so that every track of child’s development is recorded.
“The child development assessment is not separate from understanding and addressing issues of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, so our child development assessment program will actually involve school health,” he said.
The diabetes training program is among many others by the Safaricom Foundation in a bid to transform the lives of Kenyans and was a culmination of this year’s medical camps held across the country.
The Foundation has worked with speed, simplicity and trust to implement over 1,000 community projects, impacting over three million people, through the thematic areas of health, education, environmental conservation, economic empowerment, water, disaster relief, and arts & culture.