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Diabetes info a vital tool for tackling the disease

Nov 2, 2015, 9:45 AM

A recent forum by the Health Ministry and Sheikh Zayed Regional Eyecare Centre to review WHO’s tools for the Assessment of Diabetes Retinopathy and Diabetes Management System (TADDS), has revealed that The Gambia has been identified as one of the countries in Africa where information on diabetes is required.

Accurate and up-to-date information on diabetes provides a good source for determining the level or rate of the disease in the country, and how to tackle it with the necessary measures.

Where such information is lacking it becomes extremely difficult to eradicate the disease, which can cause several adverse effects on the health and economy of the nation.

It has been widely noted that diabetes is a major public health concern threatening health systems. The World Health Organisation, according to reports, predicts it to be the 7th leading cause of death in the year 2030.

According to statistics, more than 347 million people worldwide have diabetes and more than 4.2 million diabetes patients have visual impairment.

It has also been reported that in 2004, about 3.4 million people died from diabetes mellitus. And according to some researches, “people of African descent are more frequently and severely affected than Caucasians”.

The African Vision Research Information (AVRI), a WHO-created arm to collect information in countries on diabetes management, is using a health systems approach to carry out a situation analysis, define service provision levels and identify the gaps to be addressed in ensuring universal access to diabetes care.

It is expected that our health sector in The Gambia will effectively aid their work with accurate and up-to-date information to determine the rate of the disease in the country.

This is important because the information will be of great help to determining policies and programmes on prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Meanwhile, it is very important to note the advice of American actress Halle Berry as regards diabetes. She said: “I do not love to work out, but if I stick to exercising every day and put the right things in my mouth, then my diabetes just stays in check.”

“Diabetes is a great example whereby, giving the patient the tools, you can manage yourself very well.”

Clayton Christensen