The Zimbabwe Diabetic Association estimates that 10 out of 100 people in the country have diabetics but may be unaware as many people remain undiagnosed due to lack of knowledge about the disease.
Dr. John Mangwiro, president of the association, said they are lobbying government to provide free access to diabetic medications as the cost of managing the disease continues to escalate.
“We hope that diabetic management medications become more accessible and can be provided for free like other chronic disease management regimes and we are currently lobbying government to make this a reality,” said Dr. Mangwiro.
Dr. Mangwiro said lack of current statistics on the disease and its prevalence is hampering progress in coming up with a comprehensive program of managing the disease.
“We are aware that figures are going up but we need current statistics to forward to government so that we can come up with a comprehensive national management program to help fight the disease,” said Dr. Mangwiro.
Current statistics from the association indicate that 1.4 million Zimbabweans have diabetes, which is characterized by dry mouth and extreme thirst, a constant need to urinate especially at night, and unexplained and unintentional weight loss.
Diabetes results from the body’s inability to produce and or use insulin, a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism.
There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. “For the young ones, below 30, is called Type 1 Diabetes, and then there is the Type 2 where people present with obesity, they are much overweight than is expected,” said Dr. Gwatidzo.
He urged people to go back to their traditional diets and eat healthy food and exercise as a way of combating the disease.