The problem was realised between July and December last year after a district health information system was unveiled, which has started to keep records of the disease.

District Health Officer Leila Kichungulilo said in an interview that the district with a population of 120,000 people was found with 183 cases of the disease, on the basis of data available under the health information system.

Before the system, there was no record on disease prevalence, in which case the system needs to be extended as it enables the district to know its health problems, including that of diabetes mellitus.

The medical officer in charge at the district hospital, Dr Karim Hangai said that the disease is caused in various ways and one of them is eating non-traditional processed foods, unlike traditional fresh foods.

Most people who eat food which are traditional and fresh from farms would not get the disease, unlike those who eat non-traditional food which is mostly contaminated with chemicals.

“It is those who eat traditional fresh food who are safe from the disease. Those who eat non-traditional food are always at risk as far as they have chemicals added, ” he said.

Dr Hangai advised members of the public to eat natural food which is fresh. Diabetes mellitus is one among the most widespread diseases in urban areas and is now spreading to rural areas like Kisarawe district, and it can debilitate the body and lead to premature death if not treated well.

The disease is already among the big killer diseases, requiring that patients suffering from the disease be put to proper care.

One could be detected suffering from diabetes when urinating frequently, always tired, overweight or has a sudden weight loss, continuously thirsty, noticing cuts or bruises that do not heal, having a family with a history of diabetes, having had a baby weighing four kilogrammes or more at birth and experiencing blurred vision.

Many institutions have recently conducted diabetic camps in the Dar es Salaam city to mark the World Diabetics Day on November 16th each year in efforts to help people detect if they have the disease so as to be attended.

The World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) has pledged to increase support for diabetes clinics in health centres in the country beginning early this year to help spread awareness and control of the disease.

The Chairman of the Tanzania Diabetes Association (TDA), Prof Andrea Swai said in Dar es Salaam when marking the World Diabetes Day that WDF would support the establishment of diabetes centres in hospitals and health centres in all regions in order to provide public education on the disease.

About 25 percent of the sufferers are usually completely unaware of having diabetes and most Tanzanians do not go for regular health check ups, so when such patients finally do go to hospital it is often too late.

Many people would usually go to health centres after they had seen the long-term outcomes of the disease, such as losing their sight, and studies showed that one in every 100 people aged 15 and above were suffering from the disease.

Five or six people in the same group in Dar es Salaam were suffering from the disease but three in the same group were not aware of it.

As a result of this, the government has been requested to take action before many people become victims of the disease. The disease was a threat to national development as one person dies and two people get the disease in every ten seconds and more than seven million people develop the disease annually.

Dr Tayabali Jafferji of TMJ Hospital in the city said during a two day free diabetic camp held during last year’s World Diabetic Day at the hospital that about 260 people attended and 21 out of them were found to have diabetes.

The camp which was organized by the hospital in collaboration with an adjacent pharmacy was screening people and advising them how to prevent and cure the disease. The camp was being run for the second time after first been held last year.

Dr Jafferji said that people get diabetes because of insufficient insulin in the body, with other contributing factors being excessive weight, refined life style, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol and stress.

In order to prevent the disease, people should have regular exercise, frequent small meals rather than one big meal, not take sugar in excessive quantity, while noting that sugar present in the food and fruits is satisfactorily good if taken in limited quantities.

Source The Guardian

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