Diabetes patients in Baringo form support group

Prisca Chemobo assisting Mzee Kipkechem Komen to check sugar levels of a diabetic patient. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]
Diabetes patients in Marigat have formed a group to help them manage the disease.

The organisation, which is based in Baringo South, consists of 87 members, among them 11 children.

“This group is a source of our solace. Here we encourage each other and share challenges we face. We have overcome stigma we used to face from society because we speak freely,” said group founder Prisca Chemobo.

Ms Chemobo noted that a major challenge facing patients was lack of access to basic tools like glucometers and blood test strips, which would save them the hassle of traveling far for medication when they were sick.

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“We attend a diabetic clinic at Marigat Hospital but have to wait in long queues. This could be solved if all patients had equipment to determine their blood sugar levels,” said Chemobo.

Access to insulin, among other drugs, is also a challenge facing patients from the mainly pastoral community.

Financial constraints

Though a few patients have enrolled with the National Hospital Insurance Fund, they are still unable to pay the Sh500 monthly fee because of financial constraints.

“The Government should help us access drugs in hospitals. It should set up a clinic where people can access daily services and not on specific days,” said Chemobo.

Diabetics are also warned to be careful to avoid getting pricked because the wounds take a long time to heal. This, however, is a tall order in the region that is home to the prickly ‘mathenge’ tree.

Kevin Laweri, 14, is one of the group members. He was diagnosed as having diabetes at the age of two.

He underwent a two-month training at the Diabetic Management and Information Centre in Nakuru, and now helps group members understand the ailment.

“Diabetes is managed by taking a proper diet and exercising. Each morning, I wake up, examine my sugar level and later take breakfast,” said Laweri.

Public Health Director Marachi Kipsang said the county was training more medics in handling the disease.

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