, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – Diabetes cases are on the rise accounting for 20 per cent of deaths in the country.
Diabetes specialist Dr Eric Njenga says Diabetes Mellitus is one of the most common non-communicable diseases of the 21st century and the 5th leading cause of mortality globally.
“The prevalence of Non Communicable diseases (NCDs) and associated risk factors are on a rapid rise globally. They reduce quality of life, cause mortality and catastrophic expenditure within our economy.
The world prevalence of diabetes among adults was projected at 6.4 per cent, affecting 285 million adults, and by 2030 it is estimated to be 7.7pc with 439 million adults affected if no interventions are put in place.
In Kenya, the estimated prevalence of diabetes ranges from 4.2pc to 5pc.
“Diabetes is the single largest disease pandemic we are dealing with globally today with 415 million people said to be living with the disease in Africa,” said Dr Njenga.
A report jointly published by the World Health Organization and the Lancet on World Health Day, shows that the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya was six per cent in 2014, a 150 per cent rise from 2.4 per cent in 1980.
Today, one in every 17 Kenyans has diabetes, and 12,890 people in Kenya died from both diabetes and high blood glucose in 2014.
“Of all admissions in hospital are because of non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) with diabetes accounting for 2-5pc,” noted Dr Njenga.
He cited that increased influence of urbanization has led to diabetes Type 2 affecting more young people both globally and in Kenya.
According to the report on diabetes released during the World Health Day, being overweight and obese are some of the factors driving this dramatic rise.
He added that awareness programs aimed at encouraging people to go for regular checkups need to be implemented.
“The government has to modify policies and invest in mass, expose people to awareness campaigns where they will learn the importance of exercise and maintaining a healthy diet,” said Dr Njenga.
Meanwhile the County Executive for Health Bernard Muia has assured of the county’s support in addressing the diabetic pandemic with the establishment of two centres that will offer free cost diabetes treatment to children i.e. at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital and Ngaira Clinic under the Changing Diabetes in children project, in collaboration with Novo Nordisk.
“The growing diabetes burden is a major public health concern with significant social and economic implications in terms of health care needs, lost productivity and premature death and thus a serious setback to our attainment of social, economic and developmental targets if no proper interventions are put in place.”
“Also, the county wills establish10 NCD model sites, one in each of the sub counties. These will act as referral centres for Diabetes Management (DM) and other NCD management. Plans are under way to strengthen services offered in these facilities and scale up diabetes testing,” emphasized Dr Muia.
The county also plans to train over 100 nurses on diabetes management.