Ntunthama Lions Club says providing children with information regarding diabetes is vital as it protects them from the disease as they grow.
The Club’s Vice President Ronald Mtee said this in Lilongwe recently during diabetes awareness campaign at Tsokankanasi Primary School which was held as one way of commemorating world diabetes day which falls on November 14.
The ages of learners at the event ranged from six to 16.
“Diabetes is one of the diseases that have greatly affected our country and is affecting both adults and children as such its vital for children to be aware so that when they are not under adult supervision they should be able to take care of themselves,” Mtee said.
He added that the awareness will help children to be mindful of what they eat and also be on the lookout of the signs and symptoms which will help in early diagnosis of the disease.
He further said they have planned to conduct diabetes testing exercise to the learners in the next few weeks.
“We have started with awareness and in the coming days we will conduct diagnosis exercise to the learners and those that are found with the disease will be referred to KCH,” he said.
The session was facilitated by the Lions and hospital officials from Kamuzu central hospital (KCH).
KCH pediatrician Amosi Nsekandiana said the awareness is important in such a way that it connects with the theme for this year’s diabetes commemoration which is focusing on children.
He said there are two types of diabetes, type 1 which mostly affects children and type 2 which mostly affects adults.
Type 1 diabetes is where the body does not produce insulin and it is auto immune while in type 2 the body does not respond to the insulin produced.
Nsekandiana added that currently there is no nationwide data that has been compiled on the number of children who are affected by diabetes type 1.
“I have done a study on diabetes type 1 on children at KCH and currently we have close to 70 children with type 1 diabetes,” he explained.
According to the pediatrician, a year ago Mzuzu Central Hospital had at least 15 patients and Queens had close to 90 patients with diabetes type 1.
He further went on to say that KCH has at least one new patient every month on type 1 diabetes.
“With studies as we go by we will be able to come up with a national prevalence rate,” he said.
Head master for Tsokankanasi primary school Mary Sapala said the awareness was beneficial to them.
“Most children are affected by various diseases amongst them is diabetes so this will help children to be aware of the dieses and the signs and symptoms as well as how they can care for themselves,” Sapala said
She added that at Tsokankanasi primary schools they have some children who are also affected with diabetes.
According to figures released by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) on November 14 2019, 463 million adults have diabetes worldwide.
The global prevalence of diabetes has reached 9.3 percent with more than half of adults undiagnosed. The IDF also said that it is predicted that the number will rise to 578 million by 2030 and 700 million by 2045.