THE revelation by Community Development, Mother and Child Health Minister Joseph Katema that over three per cent of adult Zambians suffer from diabetes calls for careful reflection on everyone’s lifestyle.
As Dr Katema said yesterday, diabetes, commonly known as sugar disease, is indeed a public concern that needs to be treated with the seriousness it deserves.
Diabetes is a highly preventable disease, but despite this medical condition being seemingly easy to prevent, Zambia is recording a sharp increase of more than 50 per cent of new diabetes cases annually.
Such statistics are alarming and worrisome for Zambia’s small population of just over 13 million people.
There is an urgent need to begin a vigorous countrywide awareness campaign on diabetes to protect the current and future generations.
All stakeholders – politicians, religious and traditional leaders – need to rise to the occasion and place diabetes sensitisation high on their agendas.
Routine and early screening should be encouraged because currently most cases in Zambia go undetected.
Unfortunately, there is also a misconception in local communities that diabetes is a disease for the wealthy, but such an attitude is detrimental to efforts in combating the disease which does not choose the status of its victims.
Ignorance on such important matters should be eradicated because people need to be given correct information.
There are some quick tips on how to prevent diabetes. Regular exercises and keeping one’s body weight in check can cut the risk.
It is an acknowledged fact that most Zambians are non-exercisers, but this must change.
There is also need to watch the food people consume to lower the risk of diabetes and even heart diseases in some cases.
With the commitment shown by Government in implementing initiatives that enhance prevention and control of diabetes, this war can be won.