Kenya to enhance diabetes screening amid fast urbanization

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Kenya to enhance diabetes screening amid fast urbanization

NAIROBI, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to enhance screening of diabetes to improve treatment of the disease that is on the rise as the country witnesses fast urbanization and changing lifestyles, officials said on Saturday.

Sicily Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that approximately 60 percent of Kenyans with diabetes are not aware they have the ailment and this leads to late diagnosis.

"We therefore want to roll out a sensitization campaign to enhance early detection of diabetes as part of plans to achieve universal health coverage," Kariuki said in Nairobi during the annual Diabetes Management and Information Center walk that aims to raise funds for treatment of children living with the condition.

Kariuki noted that the government was concerned about diabetes as it was once associated with the affluent but is now common among the low-in come segment of the population.

Data from the ministry of health indicates that about 5 percent of Kenyans are affected by the chronic illness with one in ten people with diabetes being children. The population of Kenya stands at about 45 million.

Joseph Kibachio, head of division of non-communicable diseases in the health ministry, said Kenya is witnessing a rise in the cases of diabetes due to changing lifestyles that are characterized by lack of physical activity coupled with unhealthy diets.

Kibachio said that urbanization has led to increased uptake of processed foods and a move away from diets rich in fiber and vegetables.

He said that the government is focusing on preventive measures given the high cost of treating diabetes.

Chinese telecom giant Huawei has donated 500,000 Kenyan shillings to this year's Diabetes Walk, making it one of the major sponsors of this year's event.

The annual event is aimed at raising awaren ess of diabetes, with the funds collected used to pay for the supply of free insulin to disadvantaged children.

Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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