Diabetes care is multi disciplinary and involves many stakeholders who must all play a part in developing and implementing the care processes, Dr Gontle Moleele, an endocrinologist at Bokamoso Hospital has said.
When speaking at the commemoration of World Diabetes Day on Saturday in Gaborone, Dr Moleele said the real problem with diabetes is that if it is not properly treated it can cause irreversible damage to the body.
“It may damage the eyes and this damage is one of the leading noninfective causes of blindness. It may also damage the kidneys which may lead to kidney failure as well as damage the nerve to the feet causing burning pains and numbness,” Dr Moleele said.
She noted that the risk of all the problems mentioned above is reduced by tight and safe control of the blood glucose, using diet, exercising and medication. Dr Moleele also highlighted that diabetes has been shown to increase the risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease such as stroke and heart attack.
She said this makes prevention of these conditions a key component of the treatment of diabetes. However, Dr Moleele said patients should be encouraged to go for regular checkup as well as be educated on potential remedies.
In her remarks, the head of Block 6 clinic Dr Aderonke Oyewo said diabetes continues to be a global pandemic with increasing prevalence yearly stating that the majority of the people with diabetes live in low and middle income countries.
“The number of people with diabetes is increasing in every country, international diabetes federation (IDF) estimates that there are 387 million people living with diabetes worldwide, this is a global prevalence of 8.35%,” she said.
She said in Botswana, IDF estimates that the prevalence of diabetes in adults aged 20 – 79 is 2.7% which means that there are 30 600 patients at present.
Meanwhile, Dr Oyewo said due to these figures, the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders are at the forefront of the fight against diabetes and thus the diabetes centers of excellence were established in 2011 in Gaborone and Francistown.
“Diabetes center of excellence is currently seeing most of the diabetes patients in greater Gaborone and surrounding areas, with an estimate of around 4000 patients on the list.
Over 1000 patients are seen and managed in the clinic every month,” she said.
Dr Oyewe also highlighted that the diabetes center of excellence in block 6 clinic provides quality service of international standards to all diabetic patients.
The commemoration of the world diabetes day is done annually on November 14 and it is an international event which aims to increase awareness about diabetes.
The day comprised of different activities such as screening, lectures under the theme: healthy living and diabetes.