Most diabetes patients not on medication, shows report
At least 60 per cent of Kenyans diagnosed with diabetes are not on medication, the World Health Organisation (WHO) report shows.
According to the analysis conducted on selected African countries, the situation is putting diabetic persons at a greater risk of severe Covid-19 complications if infected.
In the analysis, 18.3 per cent of Covid-19 deaths in the African region so far, are among people suffering from diabetes.
According to WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti countries must turn this around by investing in early detection, prevention and treatment of diabetes.
“Too many people are in the dark as to whether they have diabetes. People with this chronic condition suffer a double blow if they are infected with Covid-19,” said Dr Moeti.
The African Region has experienced a six-fold increase, from 4 million cases in 1980 to 25 million in 2014.
With around 60 per cent of people living with diabetes undiagnosed, the African region has the highest proportion of people unaware of their status.
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation, but with early diagnosis and treatment, many of the harmful effects of the disease can be delayed or even avoided.
At the onset and the peak months of the Covid-19 pandemic, health services for diabetes patients were disrupted.
Only about a third of reporting countries in the WHO survey of 41 countries in Africa, indicated that services were fully functional.
In many African countries, access to basic equipment for diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes is a challenge, especially in public health facilities in remote areas.