Zim commemorates World Diabetes Day

Pic Credit: @WHOZimbabwe Twitter

By Kudakwashe Pembere

ZIMBABWE yesterday commemorated World Diabetes Day in Chivhu with the Vice President and Health and Child Care Minister Dr Constantine Chiwenga assuring the nation that as Government they are drafting a strategy for people living with the disease.

As at 2019, the national diabetes prevalence was at 10 percent with poor lifestyles involving dietary choices, lack of exercise among other things attributed to the high burden of diabetes.
This year’s theme for World Diabetes Day is “Access to Diabetes care”, apt with the universal health coverage goal of ensuring that everyone has access to health services with no financial hardship.
Addressing attendants at the World Diabetes Day, Dr Chiwenga stated that Zimbabwe is fighting two menacing diseases on both fronts namely diabetes and COVID-19.
“Most admissions at COVID19 treatment centers and the burden of mortality involved people with NCDs such as diabetes. This means even though COVID19 is an infectious disease, people who have been impacted severely are those with NCDs,” he noted.
He also said the Zimbabwean government is drafting a strategy to fight NCDs.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care is developing a strategy for control of NCDs including cardiovascular diseases & diabetes mellitus. The strategy seeks to promote coordinated national policies that work to reduce exposure to known risk factors & improve access to quality care,” added Dr Chiwenga.
Meanwhile, Africa’s diabetes picture is dispiriting as the Coordinator of the noncommunicable diseases programme at the WHO Regional Office for Africa Dr Jean-Marie Dangou said there were 5 million new diabetes cases found between 2019 and 2021.

“Every five seconds, a person living with diabetes dies. In Africa, about 24 million are estimated to be living with diabetes, which represents an increase of 5 million new cases compared with 2019,” he said adding the number could rise to 47 million by 2030.
He bemoaned the number of undetected cases in both adults and children.
“Unfortunately, more than two thirds of people living with diabetes are unaware they have the disease. In addition the number of children with type 1 diabetes is not often taken into account,” Dr Dangou said.
With this year’s theme linked to Universal Health Coverage, Dr Dangou stated as WHO they are working towards achieving this through technical assistance to countries.
“Access to diabetes care in the region is not optimal. To improve access to quality diabetes care, WHO launched the Global Pact on Diabetes in April 2021. The Global Pact complements the actions we are undertaking with countries and focusses on five areas.
“The first is access to insulin and essential health technologies particularly for diabetes. The second is prevention, health promotion, and health literacy in relation to diabetes. The third area is technical assistance to countries but also partners for diabetes prevention and control. The fourth area is diabetes research and innovation. And the last of course is governance and partnerships. Including meaningful engagement of people in the fight against diabetes,” he said.

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