16 November 2017

Rwanda: MoH Takes Campaign Against Diabetes, Lifestyle Diseases to the Grassroots

Rwandans have been urged to regularly go for screening and adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep diabetes at bay.

This was said on Tuesday by officials during an event to mark world Diabetes Day, at Cyabingo Health Centre, Gakenke District, in Northern Province.

A two-week awareness campaign on diabetes is being conducted across the country. The campaign was organised by Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).

According to officials, previously, the event was marked in Kigali, but this time they wanted to take it to the village to show rural residents that the disease has no borders.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, in Rwanda more than 200, 000 people live with diabetes.

The campaign seeks to curb the upward trend.

The national event was marked under the theme, "Role of families and communities in fighting diabetes."

Simon Pierre Niyonsenga, the director of diabetes and other metabolic disease (noncommunicable diseases) at RBC, said the campaign will be extensively dedicated to screening and educating people on how to stay healthy.

More than 500 health centres in the country will be involved.

He said they are targeting to screen at least 300 people at every health facility, adding that equipment had been deployed in all centres to ensure a smooth process.

"There is another linkage of community health workers and home-based care practitioners, who are people within the community who help sensitise people to go screening for NCDs, including diabetes," Niyonsenga said.

The campaign will also be conducted through the media and other channels, including monthly community-based voluntary work, Umuganda, to help pass preventive message to the more people.

"Fighting diabetes is not only the role of the Ministry of Health, everyone has a role in this," Niyonsenga said.

Speaking at the launch in Gakenke, Dr Jean Baptise Mazarath, the head of biomedical service at RBC, warned against unhealthy lifestyles, which he said was responsible for diabetes.

He noted that there are three different types of diabetes but the main one is type 2 diabetes with more than 90 per cent sufferers.

"This type is linked to lifestyle such as tobacco use, abuse of alcohol, unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise. If you can deal with all these, you have more than 80 percent chances of not getting the disease," Mazarath said.

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