By Patricia Mashiri
The Lions Clubs International, in partnership with Zimbabwe Diabetic Association has embarked on a free diabetic screening and testing campaign across the country and beyond boarders.
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when one’s blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose will be the main source of energy and comes from the food one eats.
Marshal Jonga, the Chairperson of Diabetic Alert, Awareness and Action 412 (which covers Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana) said many people live with diabetes without knowing hence the organisation’s decision to partner with Zimbabwe Diabetes Association in this cause.
“We decided to embark on a diabetes awareness campaign throughout the country after we had realised that many people are living with the disease unknowingly. This Kwekwe awareness campaign is more improved than the previous ones since we are also testing other diseases, which are parallel to diabetes.
“Today we are screening blood pressure, conducting eye and HIV/AIDS tests since those diseases are parallel to diabetes. We are also giving tablets to blood pressure patients and allowing them to consult the doctor for free,” Jonga said.
Jonga said global statistics showed that 10% of the people are diabetic but expressed concern over some of the results coming from places like Warren Park in Harare whereby more than 10% of the tested population were diabetic.
The Lions Clubs International is urging people to eat healthy, more of traditional and unrefined foods since diabetes has to do more with the way people eat.
Simion Jamanda, the Administrator of the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association said diabetes is a lifestyle disease and blamed eating plenty of refined foods for fuelling the condition.
“People are suffering from diabetes because of the lifestyle they are choosing, they are lacking physical exercises and education on how to live health which leads to loss of eyesight, kidney failure, lack of appetite for sex and stroke among others.
“We partnered with the Lions so that we will help people to know their conditions and start addressing them as soon as possible. We also realised that the health service providers need refresher courses so that they will know more about the disease, which is killing people daily,” Jamanda said.
Enock Gonga, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Diabetic Association (Kwekwe branch) who is also a diabetic patient, listed a number of problems faced by diabetic patients.
Among the problems were the lack of drugs from local clinics and hospitals, lack of blood testing equipment for members and the high cost of drugs at private hospitals and pharmacies.
“We are looking for help from our mother board since some of the patients who are members of the organisation are unable to pay the $1 monthly subscription for drugs.
“Food shortages is threatening the well being of diabetics due to the economic constraints in our country since the patients requires a special diet which is expensive,” Gonga said.
The economic situation in the country is disadvantaging the diabetics since they cannot afford medic alert bracelets which goes for $35 in local shops, they are also looking for levies from the government like the AIDS levy.