By LYDIAH NYAWIRA
Nyeri County Health officials and leaders have raised concern over the diabetes prevalence rate in the region.
They fear the rate is the highest in Central region and by extension the highest in sub Saharan Africa.
County Executive Member in charge of Health in Nyeri, Charles Githinji told The Standard that while the prevalence rate for the country was at 5.6 per cent, the prevalence rate for Kirinyaga is at 6.8 per cent, Murang’a and Nyandarua were both at 10 per cent while Nyeri was at 12.6 per cent.
“We have the highest rate in the country, and Kenya has the highest prevalence rate in Sub Saharan Africa that makes Nyeri the hot spot for diabetes,” Dr Githinji said.
He noted that this was the reason why they wanted to upgrade the Nyeri County Referral Hospital Diabetes Management Centre into a Diabetes Specialist Unit that would coordinate the 259 community health units they intend to establish in the county.
Currently, the centre is located at the referral hospital and receives patients from around the region.
Senior Nursing officer in charge of the facility Gichuki Muchiri said the numbers of people diagnosed with the disease was overwhelming.
Ms Muchiri noted that in 2011, the outpatient facility received 348 new patients and those being treated at the centre were 5,135 while last year 128 people were diagnosed with diabetes while the total was 3616.
“Out of these patients, an estimated 80 per cent were from Nyeri County,” Muchiri said
The centre receives patients with complications caused by diabetes that are referred to the centre from clinics in Karatina, Othaya, Nanyuki and Mary Immaculate Mission Hospital.
Some of the complications we deal with are strokes, kidney and heart failure, amputations, blindness, nerve damage,” Muchiri explained.
The centre has ten diabetes specialists who attend to patients during the weekly clinic on Friday.
“We also advice patients in the sub county hospitals and the number of consultations are numerous,” Muchiri said.
Muchiri however, noted they are registering positive progress in changing diabetes in children.