The Zimbabwe Diabetic Association has embarked on a nationwide educational drive aimed at building awareness and empowering those affected by the disease. Diabetes is among some of the non-communicable diseases that include heart and high blood pressure that are affecting Zimbabweans in larger proportions.
In an interview ahead of the official launch of the Diabetic Association of Zimbabwe, the President of the association Mrs Tendai Gutu said some people suffer from the disease (diabetes) unknowingly or in silence at home, hence the need for increased advocacy, awareness, testing and information to the people.
“With an increased prevalence of diabetes as a disease in Zimbabwe, there are increased complications like kidney failure, blindness and amputations with an increased mortality,” she said.
“In Zimbabwe, it is estimated that 10 in every 100 people have diabetes, and currently, diabetes statistics represent over 100 000 visits or consultations at outpatients departments per year.”
She said cases of hypertension are on the increase and it is estimated that in every 100 people, 27 have been affected with blood pressure.
Mrs Gutu urged diabetic patients to control their blood sugar levels and take stringent measures in following a diabetes diet.
She said there was a strong association between diabetes and hypertension as most diabetics tended to end up with high blood pressure and vice versa.
Government says it’s working to ensure that people living with diabetes can access medication for free, just like other chronic infections such as HIV and Aids.
Diabetic patients are struggling to access drugs such as metformin, glibenclamide and insulin injections and the treatment is costly, running into hundreds of dollars per month
Blood sugar-testing equipment, used at most public hospitals, is obsolete and while that in private clinics is expensive to access.