16 April 2019

Botswana: Diabetes Equally Impactful - Ransome

Gaborone — British High Commissioner to Botswana Ms Katy Ransome says diabetes like other diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Ebola is impactful.

Delivering a keynote address at the ongoing Botswana Diabetes Partnership 2019 Diabetes Symposium in Gaborone, Ms Ransome said the economics of high and increasing global rates of diabetes were enormous.

She said the human cost for individuals and their families was an even greater challenge that must be faced together to tackle.

She further said that the global challenge regarding the impact of diabetes was the reason international cooperation was key to tackling the growth; adding that no country should be left to stand alone and that no person should feel that they do not have any support.

She indicated that UN Sustainable Development Goal Three found that 32 million people died from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the previous year.

Therefore, she said target 3.4 was to reduce premature mortality by one third from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment as well as promotion of mental health and wellbeing.

Ms Ransome commended Botswana as one of the countries that had put tackling the SDGs at the very heart of government policy and also applauded the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their commitment to developing the strategies to meet the health challenges.

To achieve the fight against diabetes, Ms Ransome said there was need to work together, share knowledge, information and research and create the right targeted interventions in each country.

For her part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Ms Ruth Maphorisa said Botswana aspired to have a prosperous nation by 2036, indicating that such initiatives as these were part of the broader national aspirations of health.

Ms Maphorisa said her ministry believed in partnerships as they were part of their strategy.

She said in their quest to promote health and disease prevention, their roadmap going forth was that they partner with individuals and organisations.

As a ministry, Ms Maphorisa said they had diabetic excellence centres in Gaborone and Francistown as a way of showing commitment when dealing with issues around diabetes.

Ms Maphorisa indicated that as a middle income country Botswana valued the partnership from Cambridge, noting that the partnership would continue.

Meanwhile, Diabetes Association of Botswana chairperson Dr Dipesalema Joel expressed a concern that prevalence had gone up in the last decade.

He said among factors contributing to the prevalence were graze level of urbanisation and secondary lifestyle.

He said while the world had witnessed an increase in Type 2 Diabetes, which was dominantly found in adults, Botswana had also seen an increase in Type 1 diabetes found in children and young adults.

The statistics from the International Diabetes Federation in 2017, he said, showed that there were 425 million people aged between 20-79 living with disease worldwide.

He also said in the same year, more than one million children were living with Type 1 diabetes across the world.

Dr Joel said Botswana had also been affected, saying in 2017 over 88 000 Batswana were living with the disease, translating to prevalence of 4.59 per cent.

He said this prevalence put Botswana among the countries most affected by the disease in the sub Saharan Africa.

Dr Joel indicated that the management of diabetes in children and young adults was one of the most challenging and demanding of the chronic care models as they must rely on their daily injections in order to live.

He said it got hard for them to keep the motivation throughout their lives, hence they had taken commitment to lessen the burden by carrying activities annually for children with diabetes.

Activities such as diabetes camp allows children to meet others with the same conditions as them and help them accept themselves, Dr Joel said, adding that these camps also gave children education on the disease.

Source : BOPA

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