Swaziland: New Screening Project Aims to Improve Diabetes Care in Swaziland

A new research project has started in Swaziland (eSwatini) aimed at improving care for people with diabetes through strengthening eye and foot screening.

The Good Shepherd Hospital Eye Clinic (GSHEC) and Diabetes eSwatini with the support of the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) are partnering in the project.

In a statement, the project said Swaziland faced a growing problem with diabetes and its complications that can cause blindness or affect the feet or kidneys.

At present there is no national diabetes registry or systematic screening in the kingdom. This means diabetic eye disease and foot ulcers are not attended to until the illness has taken hold.

The project called Improving Diabetic Quality Care Through Strengthening Retinopathy and Foot Screening will establish a pilot screening system.

Dr. Jonathan Pons, Head of GSHEC said, 'In the midst of a global pandemic, here at last is some relief for Africans living with diabetes.'

GSHEC provides comprehensive healthcare to more than 20,000 patients every year, including 1,000 cataract surgeries and 500 other eye-surgeries per year.

According to World Health Organisation figures for 2018 there were 739 deaths from diabetes. This was 6.14 percent of total deaths in the kingdom. The age adjusted Death Rate was 134.56 per 100,000 of population and this ranked Swaziland number four in the world.

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