By: Lloyd M’bwana
The country’s Journalists Association against AIDS (JournAIDS) has emphasized the need for the general public to seriously change the eating and social habits in a bid to lessen the escalation of diabetes \which has halted business and production in Malawi.
According to the 2009 STEP survey on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the Malawi government and World Health Organization (WHO) conducted revealed 5.6 percent of the diabetes prevalence rate in the country.
But the recent study done in the northern district of Karonga has shown an alarming increase of diabetes with 9 percent which according to health experts is shocking and calling for a robotic approach to reduces its escalation.
The Maravi Post snap check on Wednesday, February 3, in some of the township including Area 25, Mtandire, Chinsapo, and Kawale in the capital Lilongwe courtesy of JournAIDS revealed alarming increase of people suffering from diabetes where groups have been formulated for a workable approach in fighting the chronicle disease.
Olive Kadzakumanja, a retired midwife nurse who is championing establishment of about 17 Diabetes clubs (whereby in each group has over 50 registered members) in the capital Lilongwe expressed sadness at the rate the disease has hit hard communities which needs urgent attention from authority including introduction of mobile and
Community clinics in order to reduce the burden of its escalation.
Rose Msusa, diabetes patients found at Mtandire concurred with Kadzakumanja for the need to have a community clinic where they can easily access treatment as there is not any public health facility for medication.
“We travel long distance to reach Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in order to access medication since we can’t afford to buy in private clinics. On top of that no supplement foods is available for us due to low income which we could love government and other health organization in the country doing something to us on this”, urges Msusa.
But, later in an exclusive interview with The Maravi Post on Diabetes status and prospects in Malawi, Dingan Minthi, JournAIDS Programs Manager expressed worrisome over the escalation of the chronic disease which has halted production as citizens’ health continues deteriorating.
Minthi attributed the sharp increase in people suffering from Diabetes to change of social and eating habits including smoking, bear drinking, luck of body physical exercise, lack of proper diet and eating fats food among others.
“Honestly, it’s shocking to learn that diabetes prevalence rates is increasing particularly in low income families due to lack of proper diet as they tend to consume food that contains heavy fats without vegetable and fruits which leads to the body fail to produce enough insulin and balance up glucose. Poverty and climate change have contributed to the rising cost of food staffs.
“These days it hard to see people having physical exercise and when they see you walking they tend to speculate that you are block or don’t have money which is bad. The core business now is people to drastically change the eating habits and life style otherwise escalation of diabetes will continue hitting the nation hard.
“Apart from the life style and eating habits the general public have inherited, government also isn’t doing enough in terms of health infrastructure development as the national budget tends to neglect NCD sector where Diabetes is not given enough funds to upscale public awareness and medication. This sector needs enough resources for quick response if the battle against diabetes is to be won”, challenges Minthi.
With funding from World Diabetes Foundation of Denmark, Journalists Association Against AIDS (JournAIDS) is currently implementing a diabetes prevention project titled, “Popularization Advocacy to Primary Diabetes Prevention”, aimed at raising awareness amongst diabetic patients, NGOs, policy and decision makers and government in collaboration with College of Medicine, Diabetes Association of Malawi and Ministry of Health (MoH).
The Non Communicable Disease and diabetes continue to receive little attention in financing as it screening (Diabetes) and management requires US$75, 806 and US$51,160,806 respectively yearly but currently the national budget it’s not clear as to how much the chronic disease has been allocated in the 2015/2015 fiscal year.