Over a Million Mozambicans May Have Diabetes

Maputo – The Mozambican Health Ministry estimates at more than a million the number of Mozambicans who are suffering from diabetes, and is calling for greater vigilance in order to prevent an increase in the number affected.

The Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe, announced the figure at a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, intended to announced the activities that will mark World Health Day, on 7 April.

She said that this year the health authorities have decided to focus on diabetes, and the commemorations will be held under the theme: “Beat diabetes – Expand prevention, and strengthen care and vigilance”.

A study from 2005 estimated that over 864,000 Mozambicans were diabetic – but only a small percentage of these are undergoing treatment.

Armindo Tiago, a doctor and a member of the Mozambican Association of Diabetics, told the press conference that, assuming the number of diabetics expanded at the same rate as the general increase in population, then about 1.5 million Mozambicans today have diabetes.

The health ministry’s advice is that people should be checked for this disease regularly at health units, and made aware of the dangers posed by diabetes. Matsinhe said that preventive measures include a healthy diet, reducing the intake of sugary and fatty foods, increasing the consumption of vegetables and water, taking plenty of physical exercise, and regularly measuring blood pressure.

The risk factors for diabetes, she added, included excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol and obesity.

Asked about the rise in yellow fever cases in South Africa, Matsinhe said there was no cause for alarm, although the Mozambican authorities should follow the South African situation closely, given that the countries are neighbours.

The recent cases in South Africa, she added, were among people who had contracted the disease elsewhere. The disease could not spread in South Africa, since the species of mosquito that transmits yellow fever does not exist there

Source: All Africa