Lesotho joins global World Diabetes Day

But notes her diabetic patients take longer to accept it

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

MASERU – The Lesotho Nurses Association (LNA) says many diabetic patients take a long time to accept their illness, which calls for them to be guided properly. Ntlhane Sehloho from the LNA shared these sentiments on the celebration of this year’s World Diabetic Day in Maseru on Sunday. Established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) with support from World Health Organisation (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the health and economic threat posed by diabetes, World Diabetes Day became an official UN day in 2006.

The IDF is an umbrella organisation of over 230 national diabetes associations in 170 countries and territories. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. The federation has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950. On 14 November every year, Lesotho joins the global public health community to celebrate World Diabetes Day, providing an opportunity to raise awareness about how to improve its prevention, diagnosis, and management.

Sehloho said experience has taught health professionals in the country that it has not proven easy for diabetic patients to accept the disease, that they have to grieve and go through many treatment stages; making it difficult to accept if they do not have proper support. He said health care workers at various health centres need to understand the pattern and how to encourage patients to accept the disease.

Sehloho further indicated that World Diabetes Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done, collectively and individually, for better prevention, diagnosis and management of the condition. This year’s World Diabetes Day celebration takes place at the end of a year which has been intensive in terms of global advocacy for diabetes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners are using this year’s celebration, which marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, to highlight the huge gap between the people who need access to insulin to control their diabetes, as well as essential technologies such as blood glucose meters and test strips, and those who actually have access.

On this day WHO joins its partners to draw attention to the need to maintain and improve access to health services, and medicines and supplies for diagnosis, treatment, and self-management of diabetes. This is essential to control diabetes, prevent its complications and lengthen and improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes. Insulin was discovered by Sir Frederick G Banting, Charles H Best and JJR Macleod at the University of Toronto in 1921 and was subsequently purified by James B Collip.

Before 1921, it was exceptional for people with Type I diabetes to live more than a year or two. As one of the twentieth century’s greatest medical discoveries, insulin remains the only effective treatment for people with Type I diabetes today. And this year marks the celebration of 100 years since the discovery of one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in history, which went on to save millions of lives around the world and triggered a century of diabetes discoveries.

The day also comes at a time when the world continues to live through the Covid-19 pandemic, which has not only resulted in a high proportion of people with diabetes among hospitalised patients with severe manifestations of Covid-19 and among those who have succumbed to the virus, but has also led to severe disruption of diabetes services. Moliehi Mokoloko, who lives with diabetes, says Lesotho is at risk as many Basotho youths live with diabetes. She said the numbers are increasing with many unrecorded.

In his remarks to mark the day, the Minister of Health, Semano Sekatle, said people with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications. He said it is important to keep going to appointments, never miss them, and manage the condition with healthy lifestyle choices, while staying active and following a healthy diet to reduce the risk of complications from the diabetes.

He also indicated that it is important to have knowledge about diabetes, noting that the symptoms include constant thirst and that it is incurable. World Diabetes Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done, collectively and individually, for better prevention, diagnosis and management of the condition. World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes as a public health issue and to share what needs to be done, collectively and individually, to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and management of diabetes.

This year the theme is: “Access to diabetes care: if not now, when?” After 100 years since the discovery of insulin, access to diabetes care continues to be a challenge in many countries and this year’s World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to highlight the urgent need to increase access for diabetes diagnosis and treatment, in order to prevent complications and improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes. Lesotho is one of the 48 countries of the IDF African region. About 463 million people have diabetes in the world and more than 19 million people in the region.

By 2045 it is estimated the figure will be around 47 million. According to the IDF statistics released in 2020 of the total adult population of Lesotho of 1 228 400 diabetes prevalence in adults is at 3.4 percent. With the total cases of diabetes in adults at 41 200.

 

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