Ugandans Unaware of Diabetes Prevalence

Uganda marked World Diabetes day last week, with the Ministry of Health claiming 80% of Ugandans suffering from the disease are unaware of it.

This was stated last week as Uganda celebrated the world diabetes day which was marked under the theme “Health Living with Diabetes”. The theme was chosen to emphasize the fact that one can live healthy with diabetes so long as he or she changes lifestyle.

The state health minister in charge of General Duties Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye said the public needs to go for regular checkups of diabetes and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) since they are the leading killer disease.

The minister said in Uganda experts estimate that about 2 million live with diabetes and unfortunately 80% of these aren’t aware and it will present later with serious complications including blindness, amputation, heart disease and stroke.

He said early detection is crucial so as to avoid these complications. “Diabetes and NCD are increasing in our population because Ugandans are adopting unhealthy life styles and increasingly eating foods with lots of fats sugar and less fiber.”

Therefore he told Ugandans to prevent these diseases through regular exercise, eating healthy foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol.

“The health sectors are committed to giving necessary technical guidance and create policies, infrastructure and resource for screening early treatment.” He said.

Some of the other things he said the ministry was looking into included placing high taxes on Tobacco imports, creating a National food and Drug regulation, and regulation of alcohol.

Stakeholder were also called upon to play their role in preventing and controlling these diseases by creating favorable environment for regular exercise and recreation, making health foods available , reducing salts and sugar in foods and beverages and appropriate regulation on tobacco and alcohol control.

The ministry has I n the recent years been undertaking awareness campaigns about the disease through sensitizing the public about the risk factors. The ministry has also equipped health facilities with necessary drug supplies to screen and treat people with diabetes.

According to the minister, during a general assembly on prevention and control of NCD, heads of governments acknowledged the burden and threat of the diseases and pledged their commitment on addressing them.

He said Uganda pledged to increase public awareness through shared risk factors namely tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and harmful use of alcohol.

Source : East African Business Week

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