The disease drowning in sweet myths

In some parts of Kenya’s north, the belief that taking camel milk cures diabetes is one of the myths that medics come across as they work to help residents manage the disease.

02 Dec 2019 . 388 Views

It is not the only place in Kenya where myths, assumptions, and popular wisdom have taken the place of science, with the net effect being more harm to those that have the disease as they stay away from the proper medical treatment they ought to receive.

It is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot use the insulin it produces.

Type 1 diabetes is a deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin; Type 2 is due to the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs in pregnancy and carries long-term risk of type 2 diabetes.

In Kenya, the number of children under fifteen affected by the disease stands at 497,000 cases. In the northern region of Kenya, diabetes is exacerbated by poverty, stigmatisation, ignorance, myths and poor access to quality treatment.

To reverse this, Safaricom Foundation is working with partners to develop norms and standards for awareness, diagnosis and care for children with diabetes in the region.

Fatuma Kinsi Abass, Executive Director at Pastoralist Girls Initiative shares her experience in breaking cultural stereotypes and barriers in the northern region of Kenya to ensure diabetes healthcare and awareness reaches those who need it most.

As the world marks the close of Diabetes Awareness Month, it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that they, and their families, eat and live healthily and also test their sugar levels as part of their contribution to a healthier world.

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