The government through the Ministry of Health will next year roll out a five-year countrywide training programme for health care workers in diabetes prevention, treatment and management amid an increasing prevalence rate that currently stand at 3.3 per cent.
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) National Programmes Officer Zecharia Ndegwa said one million adults and 20, 000 children were living with diabetes with misinformation being the greatest impediment in preventing and controlling the disease.
Speaking during this year’s national celebrations of World Diabetes Day at Kairuri Health Centre in Manyatta Constituency of Embu, Ndegwa said the Ministry had already prepared an education curriculum for all cadres of health care providers.
He said training will be tailor-made for each cadre with the first level targeting Community Healthcare Workers (CHW) in all the counties who will be charged with the responsibility of doing door-to-door sensitisation campaigns.
The second level according to Ndegwa will centre on workers at dispensaries and health centres which are level 2 and 3 hospitals who are the first line soldiers in responding to emergencies and treating minor ailments.
The officer said the third level training was aimed at building capacity of level 5 and 6 hospital doctors to help prevent complications associated with diabetes such as kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, blindness and loss of lower limbs.
Another key group that is targeted is the peer educators that involve people living with diabetes who will enable other patients self-manage the disease rather than depend on professionals as well as influence them to live positively with the condition.
The officer implored Kenyans to go for regular screening of diabetes as well as adopt a healthy lifestyle including eating a healthy diet accompanied by regular exercise in order to prevent and control the disease.
“I urge Kenyans to go for regular screenings to know their status as early detection will greatly reduce complications related with diabetes including death,” Ndegwa said.
Embu County Director of Medical Services Dr Stephen Kaniaru reported that in partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), they had been able to decentralise screening, care and medication to the lowest level health facilities to improve the wellbeing of the populace.
Despite devolving the services, Dr Kaniaru said the majority of the people were not aware of their status and more needed to be done in terms of advocacy for people to appreciate the importance of early diagnosis.
MSF Non-Communicable Diseases Activity Manager, Purity Kajuju, said in collaboration with the county, they had managed to train all the healthcare providers on how to treat and manage NCDs to help people live quality lives.
She said though their five-year programme in the county was coming to a close at the end of the year, they were optimistic the devolved unit will continue with the work they were doing including provision of NCD drugs at no cost.
“We know the challenge will be how to provide free services and medication to patients and we call upon the county to continue increasing the health care budget to ensure patients don’t suffer,” Ms Purity said.
During the celebrations whose theme was “Access to Diabetes care” free blood pressure and diabetes screening was offered as well as advice on healthy living. Some patients living with the condition shared their experience.
The event was also used to commemorate 100 years since human insulin was discovered in Canada in 1921.
By Samuel Waititu