By Patricia Mashiri
The Diabetes awareness campaigns are widening and covering almost all parts of the country. These campaigns are done by the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association.
Dr John Mangwiro, the President of Zimbabwe Diabetes Association said his organisation and other stakeholders are raising awareness to the people about the disease. They do so through free screening and testing of diabetes. They are spreading the word all over so that people will accept and learn more about the disease.
“We are on national assignment which concentrates on making sure people know their diseases in their own setting at a given time. We have a time table that we follow every week. We are aware that last week we were in Mvuri and Kadoma. Our time table is saying we should be here in Chivhu to teach people about diabetes.
“Diabetes is a disease that is spreading fast. We need to make sure that we come to every place and make sure people know about the disease. The disease is a menace and a growing pandemic. It is very up as a killer disease in the world,’” Mangwiro said.
He added that the disease is strongly associated with other diseases like cancer, arthritis, problems with fertility and also causes gestational diabetes which leads to having kids who are deformed.
His emphasis was that they are trying to make people know that diabetes is a killer disease that can be identifified easily and urged people diagnosed with it to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Florence Mafika, a Chivhu resident said she was happy with Dr Mangwiro’s engagement with the people. This outreach made it possible for them to see doctors, get screened for diabetes and other disease which run parallel with it.
“We are happy today that Dr Mangwiro visited us in Chivhu. I have learnt a lot from this awareness campaign. I’m a diabetic and was diagnosed with the disease in 2000. Since 2000 I had no one who had taught me about the diabetics’ diet and this outreach was of great importance to me.
“Sometimes I feel a lot of heat all over my body, excessive urine and I have a side pain in which sometimes I struggle to walk or stretch my hand. We appeal to the government for free medication because we cannot afford the medication. I have two courses which I take. It’s really straining because I cannot afford.
“Now we know the special diet we are supposed to take. I will try my best to maintain it and spread the gospel to others and advise them to go and get screened for diabetes while it is still early to avoid complications,” Mafika said.
Simion Jamanda, the Administrator of The Zimbabwe Diabetes Association, said people should stop the lifestyles they are choosing that are responsible for fuelling the diabetes condition.
“People are lacking exercise but they choose to eat more refined food than the traditional foods which are healthy. More education should be given to people so that they will understand that their health is more important,” Jamanda said.
A general survey during the awareness campaigns showed that there is limited knowledge or awareness on people about diabetes as many people turn up for the free testing, screening and teaching. However, men are rarely seen at such kinds of gatherings which means there should be more lobbing on them.
People have a limited knowledge on how to eat health. The healthy eating which is required from the diabetics are the small grain foods, natural vegetables which naturally grow for example derere, nyeve and wild fruits including matamba.
Lack of exercise in people is the highest challenges as people in the developed world prefer taxis than, processed foods which leads in a short life span.