Latest statistics from the World Health Organisation indicate that about four million Ugandans are suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, the Ministry of Health has said.
While launching the rural diabetes awareness and prevention campaign in Luweero last week, Ms Sarah Opendi, the Minister of State for Primary Healthcare, said almost half of diabetic Ugandans are unaware of their condition.
“Diabetes is among the neglected diseases and I am happy that this campaign has been brought to rural areas. We have two million patients suffering from diabetes and it is estimated that another two million do not know that they are suffering from diabetes,” she said during the launch of the campaign at Kalagala Health Centre IV in Bamunanika Sub-county.
The campaign spearheaded by Merck, a German pharmaceutical and chemical company in conjunction with the Uganda Diabetes Association, is an initiative of the State Minister for Higher Education, Dr John Muyingo. It will involve use of Sms to sensitise rural communities.
According to Kai Beckmann a member of the Merck executive board who presided over the launch, Uganda is among the five African countries where the service is being tested with the hope of raising a workforce of 9,000 expert doctors who will be able to diagnose and treat diabetes and hypertension by 2018.
“We are working with universities, the Ministry of Health and the Uganda Diabetes Association. Kenya, Ghana and Namibia will also benefit from this training and we are targeting 9,000 doctors by 2018,” he said.
Hundreds of elderly people and youth were tested for diabetes at Kalagala Health Centre IV.
Type 1 diabetes: The body does not produce insulin. Some people may refer to this type as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, or early-onset diabetes. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors.
Type 2 diabetes: It is believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of type 2. Being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, but not everyone with type 2 is overweight.
Causes of gestational diabetes:
Scientists from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University found that women whose diets before becoming pregnant were high in animal fat and cholesterol had a higher risk for gestational diabetes, compared to their counterparts whose diets were low in cholesterol and animal fats.
Symptoms: Common symptoms of diabetes :Urinating often Feeling very thirsty Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating Extreme fatigue Blurry vision Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal Weight loss - even though you are eating more (type 1) Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2).