“Diabetes is controllable, not curable,” says Dr Joyce Nato, the WHO Kenya expert for noncommunicable diseases, adding that children should be encouraged to join physical activities at home and in school.

Dr Gichu stresses that low awareness levels result in delayed diagnosis, poor health-seeking behaviours, an inadequately trained health care workforce and inconsistency in the availability of drugs and supplies to treat and manage diabetes. Inadequate patient education can lead to poorly controlled sugars and thus complications.

“We need to raise awareness among the population on the importance of screening, strengthen patient education to promote better health outcomes, strengthen research to inform practice and policy and to build health providers capacity to respond to the growing numbers of people with diabetes in need of services,” says Dr Gichu…

John Okoth is where he is today because of family and school responses. When he was 16, he ignored the symptoms – the fatigue and frequent thirst and urination. But when he significantly lost weight, his teachers at his boarding school sent him home for urgent medical tests… He is intent on pursuing a specialized course in endocrinology to understand hormone-related diseases, diabetes included. Okoth is comfortable with his condition and openly discusses diabetes when people ask about it.

“I speak to the young people and urge them to keep their eyes focused on the goal. Living with diabetes doesn’t mean I had to shy away from realizing my dream to become a doctor,” he says. He is also part of a youth health advocacy programme at the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Centre, a medical charity that promotes public awareness for the prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes.

Full text on the WHO Africa website here: https://www.afro.who.int/news/diabetes-family-affair-kenya

Best wishes, Neil

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