By Renson Buluma
Eating unhealthy foods and lack of exercise are to blame for the rise in cases of diabetes among Kenyans, health experts have warned.
Statistics from the Ministry of Public Health indicate that more than 1.6 million people in the country (about 4.2 per cent of the total population) live with the disease.
Of great concern is the prevalence of the disease among expectant mothers; 15 per cent of the reported cases. Chairperson of Diabetes Management Information Centre Dr Nancy Ngugi said the disease during pregnancy increases risks of pregnancy induced hypertension and obstructed labour. “Diabetes is associated with serious life threatening complications,” said Dr Ngugi.
Public Health Minister Beth Mugo in a speech read on her behalf by Head of Division of Non communicable disease Dr Patrick Waihenya during commemoration of world Diabetes Day at Nangina Boarding Primary, Busia County at the weekend said diabetes cases are on the increase.
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She attributed this to frequent use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol, junk food and over reliance on motorised transport.
She said the disease was a major public health concern, adding that her ministry has taken strategic measures to fight it by creating public awareness on prevention and control of the disease.
“The ministry has implemented various strategies in strengthening health care system through capacity building, health facility improvement for diabetes management and empowering communities through health promotion,” said the minister.
She said her ministry and that of Medical Services were working closely to ensure all health institutions provide health care for diabetes in a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach so that accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment and care is given to people.