By David Kipkorir
An estimated 40 percent of Kenyans living with Diabetes are unaware of their condition, new data by the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) shows.
IDF, an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes organizations, says that an estimated half a million adults are living with diabetes, expected to reach 1.5 million people over the next 25 years.
The data shows that over 165,000 adults living with the condition are undiagnosed, one of the highest rates in the region.
In addition, IDF said that over 2000 children aged 19 and below are living with type 1 diabetes, higher that the 1,106 estimates for sub Saharan Africa.
Africa is the Region with the highest proportion of undiagnosed people – 3 in 5 people living with diabetes do not know they have it.
The Director of Administration Ministry of Health Mr. Ben Mugambi has warned that the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya is still high and prevention measures will yield better outcomes as opposed to treatment.
“We need to work together as stakeholders in the healthcare industry to eliminate Non Communicable diseases through awareness programmes and ensure that our people take this challenge individually,” he noted.
According to the 9th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas recently published, there are now more than 463 million adults living with diabetes around the world. This number is estimated to rise to 700 million by 2045.
According to the Kenya Medical Board, there are about 7,000 actively practicing health professionals in Kenya. However, there are about 12 endocrinologists who specialise in diabetes management.
This shows that most people seek diabetes care from general practitioners who may benefit from additional upskilling in diabetes management. To bridge this gap, a nationwide Diabetes training program was rolled out in June 2019 to train 2000 General practitioners in diabetes management.
So far, majority have completed the training and it is expected that this will improve patient management in all 47 counties in the country.
“A competent patient caregiver is paramount to success in patient management. Diabetes care is dynamic and this high standard in depth innovative training will empower doctors across the counties for improvement of patient outcomes”, Dr. Kirtida Acharya, Chairperson Diabetes Kenya Association.
“The number of people living with diabetes continues to rise, outgrowing the capacity of health systems in many places to provide appropriate care. Education is the cornerstone to help people living with diabetes to manage their condition and avoid its life-changing complications. I congratulate all the healthcare professionals who took the time out of their busy schedules to engage in our initiative and complete the training. Collectively, they will improve the care for many,” Prof. Nam H. Cho, President, International Diabetes Federation
He was speaking during the World Diabetes Day organised by Sanofi in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Kenya Diabetes Study Group and Diabetes Kenya Association.
As part of the global celebrations, Sanofi unveiled the “Diabetes Your Type” global campaign advocating a call to action for an individualized approach to the management of diabetes. Through this global, multi-stakeholder approach the company aims to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for people living with diabetes.
“Diabetes is a growing public health concern, but each person living with diabetes is unique,” said Peter Munyasi, Country Chair Kenya and General Manager Sanofi East Africa Hub.
The aim of the campaign is to bring stakeholders together to enable more personalized care for everyone. Diabetes. Your Type. is giving voice to individual stories, to send the message that we are part of that change”
Over 2000 doctors in general practice have been enrolled in an intensive course on diabetes management sponsored by Sanofi in partnership with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Kenya Diabetes Study Group, Diabetes Kenya Association and The Ministry of Health.
The course which is being offered through IDF digital platforms will run until the end of the year and targets doctors countrywide in an effort to increase the number of doctors specialising in diabetes management.
Diabetes is a global pandemic affecting over 425 million people worldwide and an estimated 460,000 people living with diabetes in Kenya, and estimates indicate that this total is set to rise to over 1.3 million people within a generation.
The 2000 general practitioners train in diabetes management are expected to graduate in January next year.