Make Diabetes Treatment Free, CHVs Urge State

Community health volunteers in Kilifi County called on the government on Tuesday to make the treatment of diabetes free in the country. They said that diabetes treatment had become too expensive and out of reach for many households, leading to numerous amputations and deaths that had resulted in an increase in the number of orphans. The CHVs, who were speaking at the Alaskan grounds in Malindi town during celebrations to mark this year's World Diabetes Day, urged the government to handle diabetes malady the way it is doing with tuberculosis and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Wilikista Auma, one of the community health volunteers, lamented that many diabetics had defaulted on treatment following an increase in consultation fees from Sh100 to Sh250 in public health facilities and the lack of medicine after diagnosis by a medical practitioner. 'Diabetes has become a great challenge to many families, as diabetic patients have become many, and due to the lack of diabetes drugs in our facilities, the patients are forced to buy the same from chemists at exorbitant prices,' she lamented. She pointed out that this has become a challenge for the health volunteers since they are unable to convince patients to follow up on their treatment in the hospital, as the patients prefer using their limited financial resources to buy the drugs rather than travel to the hospital and pay consultation fees only to be told to go and buy the drugs. 'There are some diabetes patients who cannot even get out of their houses; some of them are very old and without people to look after them. Some people cannot even afford their meals. It is therefore my humble appeal that diabetics are handled the way the government is handling HIV patients,' she said. Her sentiments were echoed by the chairman of the Community Health Volunteers in Kilifi County, Mr. Harold Adamba, who urged the government to treat diabetes with the seriousness it is doing for HIV, cancer, and tuberculosis. 'More awareness campaigns on the need for people to be tested for diabetes should be put in place so that the disease is detected and treated before it becomes unmanageable,' he said. He said that the CHVs will soon be moving from house to house to create awareness and test people for the disease, and he called on the residents of Kilifi County to cooperate with them in order to reduce the burden created by the lifestyle disease. Ms. Mesalim Musa, also a CHV, attributed the surge in diabetes in the country to poor nutrition and urged Kenyans to eat balanced diets. Dr. John Moss, the coordinator of non-communicable diseases in Kilifi County, said the county had conducted numerous awareness campaigns and that diabetes drugs had been availed in most health facilities. He called on residents to enrol themselves in health insurance schemes to be able to manage the cost of treatment for diabetes and other chronic diseases. He, however, conceded that rural health facilities lacked adequate drugs and that many patients had shied away from visiting level four hospita ls, which have adequate drugs but are charging patients. 'Because of the charges levied in Level Four hospitals, many patients have opted to visit Level Three hospitals where they have depleted the drugs. Source: Kenya News Agency

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