Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in conjunction with the County Government of Homa Bay yesterday held a one-day free screening exercise for chronic diseases to mark World Diabetes Day 2022.
The county joined the rest of the world to celebrate a day that was established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation, with support from WHO in response to the growing concerns about the health and economic threat posed by diabetes.
Speaking during the exercise at the new Homa Bay Town Market, MSF Project Medical Referent Dr Emetole Earnest said that Non-Communicable Diseases have continued to rise in the country with diabetes taking the lead.
He said that a high number of diabetic cases are undiagnosed where the individuals are living with the disease without their knowledge.
“Diabetes which is in the category of NCDs continues to rise in the country and it is said that two-thirds of people who actually have the disease are undiagnosed. There is quite a huge number of individuals having the disease yet they are unaware,” said the doctor.
The doctor reiterated that there is a need to educate the public about diabetes and in relation to this year’s theme, Access to Diabetes Care, if not now, when?” they have been linking with the county government to create awareness even in the interior parts of the county.
He lauded the government, through the department of health for initiating diagnosis points in some of the health facilities within the county to ascertain the disease earlier for easy treatment.
“I would like to appreciate the County government for establishing diagnosis points in our hospitals but I challenge them to put more commitment on creating awareness,” he said.
On his part, the Health Promotion Officer Homa Bay County Charles Okatch appreciated the MSF for supporting the department of health in the fight against chronic diseases.
Okatch said that the county government has managed to open three diagnosis centres in Homa Bay Town Sub-County, that is, Nyalkinyi, Marindi and in the County Teaching and Referral Hospital.
He stated that when MSF began the process of managing the chronic diseases within the county in 2019, one out of every five cases that were admitted at the Referral Hospital had diabetes, a situation that overwhelmed the county government.
“We re-implemented the simplified method with support of MSF to ensure that we also have the support of the community members,” said Okatch.
Leonard Onyango Omollo, a diabetic patient hailing from Nyalkinyi, expressed his happiness with the MSF doctors whom he termed as friendly and well skilled.
Omollo, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010, was on the brink of death when he experienced a stroke but luckily the doctors were able to manage the condition.
By Brian Odhiambo and Sitna Omar