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Relief for Meru County as partners mark significant milestones in fighting diabetes

The fight against diabetes in Meru County has received a boost through an intervention of Roche Diabetes Care, Medtronic labs, and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance Kenya in partnership with the county government through an initiative known as the Mwanga Access programme


Through the programme, remarkable milestones have been achieved including the screening of more than 18,000 people for diabetes and training of more than 200 individuals in diabetes management since its launch in November 2022.


The Mwanga programme aims to reach 35,000 individuals by December 2024, bringing them under preventive and early intervention measures.


The programme was initiated at a critical juncture given the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes in Kenya: 4.0 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively, for adults aged 20-79.


Additionally, an estimated 5,300 children and adolescents are living with type 1 diabetes in the country.


Head of Global Commercial Organisation Roche Diabetes Care Pedro Goncalves told journalists that Roche believes in partnering with the local community to create sustainable solutions to address the healthcare needs of the countries where they operate.


“We are incredibly proud of the Mwanga Access Programme which focuses on creating a holistic care community empowerment programme to enable improved outcomes and continued support. Along with our partners NCD Alliance Kenya and Medtronic Labs, we are committed to supporting this initiative to improve access to diabetes care for people living with diabetes in Meru County and Kenya, “said Mr Gonclaves.


Of the 18000 screened, the programme has already enrolled 1,475 patients in its care programme, with 539 confirmed as diabetic.


Mr Goncalves added that the robust digital tracking mechanism has achieved an impressive 46.1 percent follow-up rate and a 51.9 percent glycemic control rate for those found to have diabetes, demonstrating the programme’s effectiveness in ensuring continuous patient engagement and improved outcomes.


He added that the programme will continue to provide diabetes screening and monitoring equipment and reagents to health facilities, support groups, and community health workers to continue fighting the disease.


“To increase the efficiency of health care systems, Mr Gonclaves added, the programme has also successfully built a robust and sustainable model of a community where 60 healthcare professionals including medical officers, clinical officers, pharmacists, nutritionists, and nurses were trained on comprehensive diabetes care.


Additionally, 20 health records and information officers were trained on data capturing and presentation, and 106 community health promoters (CHPs) on basic screening, patient enrolment, follow-up, and referral to the link facilities.


The programme has also ensured that 22 people living with diabetes and hypertension were trained in advocacy and public participation skills advocated for effective NCD prevention and control and increased NCD budgetary allocation at the County level.


NCD Alliance Kenya Executive Director Ms Catherine Karekezi said the Mwanga Access Programme exemplifies an innovative public-private partnership designed to address the gaps in diabetes management in Meru County.


“The programme’s success highlights the importance of early detection, accessible care, and ongoing support for persons living with diabetes. We commend the commitment of all stakeholders in making this program a success and look forward to further expanding its reach and impact,” said Ms Karekezi


She added that the programme utilises a community-driven comprehensive approach, involving healthcare professionals trained in comprehensive diabetes management, and community health promoters (CHPs), who screen and enroll patients and connect them to linked healthcare facilities.


Head of Business Development and Partnerships Lead Africa, Medtronic LABS Mr Eric Angula noted that the collaboration and dedication of all partners involved in the Mwanga Access Program have been instrumental in its success.


“The integration of digital infrastructure has enabled a robust enrolment and tracking of patients leading to the achievement of an impressive follow-up rate and glycemic control rate, demonstrating the programme’s effectiveness in ensuring continuous patient engagement and improved health outcomes,” said Mr Angula.


He said that the Programme’s dedication to tackling diabetes in Meru County serves as a powerful testament to the potential of collaborative efforts in improving public health outcomes adding that as the program continues its journey, it paves the way for a future where communities are empowered.

 By Dickson Mwiti


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