6 June 2012

Kenya: Safaricom Donates Sh5 Million for Diabetes Walk

Nairobi, Kenya — Leading integrated communications company, Safaricom Limited has announced a Sh5 million sponsorship for this year's Diabetes walk slated to take place in Nairobi and Mombasa on July 7 and 21 respectively.

The Diabetes Walk is organised by the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMI Centre) as a fundraising and awareness activity.

This is the 7th year that Safaricom is sponsoring this event and organizers are hoping to raise Sh12 million which will be used to supply free insulin to economically disadvantaged children.

Kenya has an estimated diabetes prevalence rate of 4.5pc which translates to about 1.8 million people and it's predicted that this figure will rise to 5.4pc by 2025.

Further, the number of children and young people with type 1 diabetes is on the rise.

The estimated prevalence ranges between 2.7pc in the rural areas to 12.7pc in urban areas.

These statistics, says Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, should be a cause for concern, "The emotional and economic burden that Type 1 diabetes places on families can be overwhelming. Yet with proper information, this condition is both manageable. Our support for this initiative is therefore an acknowledgement of the important role DMI is playing in sensitizing the public on what I believe is one of the most understated yet devastating diseases."

"The fight against Diabetes for the young people living with diabetes has been hampered by lack of prompt and correct information , prohibitive costs of insulin in private pharmacies and inconsistent supply in public hospitals where insulin is more affordable," said Eva Muchemi, the Executive Director of Kenya Diabetes Management & Information Centre.

"Lack of access to insulin remains the most common cause of death in children with diabetes. The cost remains as high as Sh1,800 in private pharmacies whereas in public hospitals where the cost is between Sh200 and Sh500, there is inconsistent supply. Insulin is a lifesaving drug and the Centre's long term plan is to establish a fund which will assist with subsidized insulin for everybody below 25 years," she added.

Every 10 seconds a person dies from diabetes-related complications in the world. According to the International Diabetes Federation, Diabetes Atlas 2011, there were an estimated 385 million people with diabetes globally.

Of this, 80pc live in low-income and middle income countries. It is estimated that diabetes kills around 3.6 million people every year-as many people as does HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the burden of diabetes is on the increase in developing economies.

The Centre has been holding the Diabetes Walk since 2001. The Walk targets school children, members of the public and corporate bodies. This year, DMI is targeting 15,000 participants, up from 8000 last year.

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