The Ministry of Health in Rwanda has called for early screening of diabetes after a study found that half of the 175,575 people living with diabetes in the country are undiagnosed. This comes as Rwanda joined the world to observe the World Health Day.
Held under the theme; “Beat diabetes”, the day was dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes, scale up its prevention, strengthen care, and enhance surveillance.
The disease has major health and socio-economic impacts, especially in developing countries.
Simon-Pierre Niyonsenga, the Director of Pulmonary, Renal, Diabetes and other Metabolic Diseases at Rwanda Biomedical Center said that the Ministry of Health alongside other stake holders is combining all efforts to fight diabetes and all non-communicable diseases in general.
A 2013 survey done by The Ministry of Health estimated that 175,575 people (between the ages of 15-64) are living with diabetes. That corresponds to the prevalence of 3% among the population.
“The main challenge is that almost half of them are not diagnosed, meaning that they are not aware that they have diabetes.”
There is an annual community health checkup for NCDs including diabetes for men above the age of 40 and Women above the age of 35 and it is covered by all health insurances, including Mutuelle de Santé.
Nathan Mugume, the Director of Communications at Rwanda Biomedical Center, stressed that as far as diabetes was concerned, more efforts are put in prevention measures as a way of curbing the disease.
“We are also working with associations of people living with diabetes and through this we sensitize people on the risks, the dangers and prevention measures one can take to prevent diabetes,” Mugume said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had sounded a warning that the number of people living with diabetes had increased and that prevention measures needed to be taken.
Research done by WHO, revealed that the number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most of them living in developing countries.
Key findings from the WHO “Global report on diabetes” indicate that in 2014, more than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese