The surge of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) among residents in Murang’a and the larger Mount Kenya region needs urgent intervention.
The Murang’a County Nutrition Officer Ms Nancy Mwangi has observed that in the recent past, the region has recorded increased cases of people suffering from various NCDs, with the most common NCDs being diabetes, arthritis and hypertension.
Mwangi speaking to KNA in her office on Monday noted that the fight against NCDs has negatively been affected by the war on Covid-19.
She said since coronavirus was reported in the county, only few people visit hospitals for screening of NCDs.
“In Murang’a County, the cases of diabetes recorded in 2019 doubled to 28,447 in comparison to 14,970 in 2017 with arthritis and other related diseases recording the highest number at 121,426 in 2019 from a mere 39,053 patients in 2017.
In 2020 few cases of NCDs were recorded which attributed to people’s failure to seek medical services due to fear of contracting coronavirus,” Mwangi remarked.
“People shied away from visiting health facilities due to Covid-19 regulations and fear of contracting the disease,” she stated.
The nutritionist further said inadequate funding has also paralyzed the fight against NCDs as more resources and funds were channeled to fight Covid-19.
“In this region due to change of lifestyles and poor eating habits, rate of diseases like diabetes and hypertension is quite high. The diseases are also attributing more deaths than coronavirus,” observed Mwangi.
She noted that Covid-19 had posed challenges to the prevention and management of NCDs saying her department was unable to conduct mass outreach initiatives since public gatherings were banned.
Mwangi warned parents against misguidance urging them to seek professional guidance when they start weaning their babies
“Some mothers can mix up to four cereals for a baby’s porridge, which is wrong as it inhibits calcium absorption in the body and this child is likely to develop diseases later,” she said.
She urged residents to normalize screening even without signs of sickness because early intervention has also been linked to proper management of NCDs.
On management of NCDs, Mwangi said at Murang’a Level-5 Hospital, they usually offer medicines, counselling, and insulin management to patients enrolled with Medical Outpatient Clinic (MOC) at a subsidized rate, whereas those below 20 years receive insulin and management therapy for free.
She encouraged families especially those who live in urban areas to establish kitchen gardens for fresh vegetables, fruits and acquire milk and eggs as it will go a long way in bringing up healthy generations and thus keeping NCDs at bay.
By Florence Kinyua and Purity Mugo