Diabetes, the condition where the body fails to produce enough insulin for proper functioning is gradually creeping into the urban poor with high numbers being recorded among this group.
According to the President of the National Diabetes Association of Ghana, Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, the disease which was once tagged as ‘rich people’s illness’ is now affecting the poor, especially those in the urban areas.
‘We had a notion diabetes was a rich man’s disease but that was a myth, now we have more urban people coming up with diabetes in the urban areas,’ she said.
Mrs Denyoh made these remarks during a free diabetes screening exercise for the Kasoa community in the Central Region aimed at early detection of the disease.
The exercise screened close to 4,000 people of the disease with 26 new cases being recorded.
She said the exercise had a team of nurses and counsellors who advised persons with the new cases to visit the hospital in order to begin treatment.
Mrs Denyoh, however, mentioned that those with the new cases were all unprepared to visit the hospitals ‘because they were just casual market women.’
She said it was important for everyone to get tested for diabetes, adding that ‘if you test positive, follow the treatment plan and take your diet regularly.’
Mrs Denyoh also called for greater government support for the activities of the association.
She said often, the association struggles to get funding for projects such as free screening and advocacy activities.
Some 450,000 people in Ghana are living with diabetes as at 2014, according to the International Diabetes Federation Africa.
The prevalence of the health condition among the adult population is pegged at 3.3 percent between the ages of 20 to 79 year with the figure estimated to increase in the future.
The disease can nonetheless be prevented with simple behavioural changes like controlling your weight, exercising, skipping sugar and bad fat and drinking less alcohol.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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