5 November 2012

Tanzania: Diabetics Entitled to Free Treatment

Photo: La Presse
A patient receives an injection. Zanzibar count of 6,000 diabetic patient has continued to rise as people's lifestyles become more sedentary.

PEOPLE suffering from diabetes can now access medical services free of charge from public health facilities in the country, the National Assembly was told.

Responding to a supplementary question by Special Seats MP, Ms Suzan Lyimo (CHADEMA), Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Rashid, said diabetes patients are also entitled to free insulin. With increased prevalence of diabetes even among children, Ms Lyimo had reasoned that medication for the disease should be provided free of charge.

Dr Rashid admitted that prevalence of diabetes was on the rise, noting however that since its treatment is expensive the government had grouped diabetes among diseases to be treated free of charge. In a basic question, Special Seats MP, Ms Kidawa Hamad Saleh, had wanted to know the cause of sicklecell, noting that between 10,000 and 15,000 children are born with the disease each year of whom 85 per cent die under the age of two years.

The MP had also wanted to know what parents and the public in general could do to reduce or prevent the disease. Dr Rashid told the House that the disease is caused by structural haemoglobin defects, stating that its prevalence could be checked if partners could go for blood check up and get medical advice before getting married.

He explained also that the condition is so common in some areas compared to others for reasons which are yet to be understood by scientists, noting however that there is a need for public awareness on the causes.

In a supplementary question, Ms Saleh queried whether herbs could cure sickle-cell following words going round that leaves of avocados could cure the disease. Dr Rashid said there hasn't been any scientific research to ascertain claims that avocado's leaves could be used for treatment. He said the disease can only be cured by a complicated procedure known as bone-marrow transplant.

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