The number of Kenyans suffering from undiagnosed diabetes is projected to rise to between 700,000 to 1.6 million by 2025.
Latest statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that between 650,000 to 1.5 million Kenyans are undiagnosed with the disease largely associated with the lifestyle.
Diabetes remains one of the leading non-communicable diseases (NCD) that accounts for 40 per cent of deaths in Kenya annually, majority of whom are in the working bracket.
Medics are now warning that if the trend is not checked many Kenyans will be send to early graves through this disease which could easily be prevented and controlled.
According to Mr Zachariah Ndegwa Muriuki of the National Diabetes Prevention and Control Programme prevalence rate in the country range between 3 per cent in the rural groups and 11 per cent in urban areas.
Mr Muriuki says that the Division of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health is strongly focusing on prevention and control as the risk factors are becoming common by the day.
“The numbers are increasing every year and people with diabetes are not receiving optimal care due to low awareness and lack of elaborate screening programs,” said Mr Muriuki.
In a bid to mitigate against these factors, Mr Muriuki pointed out that more than 60 equipped clinics have been established countrywide.
He said the ministry has rolled out a process of establishing four mentorship sites and centres of excellence in diabetes care.
At least 1,500 health care providers who include 200 doctors, 700 nurses and over 600 other health professionals such as nutritionists, pharmaceutical technologists, orthopedic technologists and physiotherapists have been trained countrywide.
Besides that, the Ministry of Health has taken the prevention of the diseases a notch higher and has trained more than 1,200 community health workers, 400 primary and secondary school teachers from five counties on diabetes prevention and care.
To demystify the disease, the Ministry of Health has also trained unspecified number of peer educators mainly people living with the diabetes on prevention and care.
Mr Muriuki observed that one of the major challenges in fight against this disease is lack of structured diabetes clinics and trained human resource.
Another challenge is lack of reliable data for planning and resource mobilisation, and low awareness among policy makers on the need to make diabetes care a priority at all levels.
The preferential allocation of resources to infectious diseases programmes such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, low public awareness, its risk factors and available prevention options are other challenges slowing the fight against the disease.
Mr Muriuki urges the government to prioritise diabetes care services in all public hospitals and strengthen the already established clinics.