NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – Statistics now show that six out of 10 Kenyans are suffering from diabetes but they are not aware.
Head of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health Joseph Kibachio says the rise, accounts for 27 percent of all deaths in the country.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Atlas, estimates 478,000 adults aged 20-79 years had diabetes in 2015.
Of the figure, 8,700 adults were estimated to have died from diabetes-related diseases during the year, averaging nearly 24 deaths every day.
“Cases of diabetes are on the rise at an alarming rate mainly attributed to poor lifestyle and lack of early diagnosis,” said Kibachio.
According to the IDF Diabetes Atlas, the diseases risk factors in Kenya are as follows; 9.5pc of the adult population aged 20-79 years has impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 5.9pc of the population has been classified as obese with 22pc being overweight.
The estimated number of people with diabetes is projected to grow 135pc by 2040 to account for 1,125,000 people up from the 478,000 recorded in 2015.
These would pose a challenge to how well prepared the country’s health system is to handle the disease burden.
The IDF Atlas showed that in 2015, Sh3.99 billion was used for diabetes treatment and is expected to increase to Sh8.34 billion by 2040.
Additional costs will include lost productivity and lost opportunities for economic development.
Kibachio noted that the Ministry of Health is working with various organisations to significantly reduce diabetes drugs costs as well as ensure that public health facilities are well stocked.
“We have harnessed innovative partnerships with the county governments and various organisations to support the health institutions to daily comprehensive diabetes clinics, through staff training, and provision of medical equipment.”
“More than 20 diabetes comprehensive care clinics in county referral hospitals have been established and we are in the process of supporting the establishment of more clinics,” stated Kibachio.
He also called on legislators to work on frameworks that will guarantee access to medical care.
He meanwhile assured that the ministry has scaled up capacity building and awareness during the World Diabetes Month that’s marked on November 14th annually.