THE Zimbabwe Diabetic Association (ZDA) has called on the government and other stakeholders to provide free medication for people living with the chronic disease, as the drugs were too expensive.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
ZDA president, Tendai Gutu, made the call yesterday during a stakeholders awareness meeting held in the capital, where she lamented lack of government support for people living with the condition.
“Diabetes is a chronic illness, which means, once you are diagnosed with it, you are supposed to take medication for life on a daily biases and this medication, which includes insulin or other oral regiments are expensive and at times difficult to access. This means the poor in our society find it hard to keep up with their medication and end up suffering numerous complications,” she said.
Enock Maida, secretary-general of the Mashonaland branch of the Zimbabwe Medical Association called on the government to speedily ensure that medication for diabetics is accessed free of charge at national hospitals just like anti-retro-viral drugs.
“The most compelling challenge is access to drugs and government should ensure that just like TB or HIV, where drugs are given for free, the same should happen with medication for diabetes. The absence of that policy has seen the death rate going up and its now more that HIV and Aids death rate,” he said.
Diabetes can cause blindness or kidney failure, forcing many to undergo dialysis procedures.
Speaking at the same event, Econet Connected Health representative, Marlon Nyakabango said early diagnostics would be integral in improving health delivery for people with diabetes.
“There is need for early diagnosis and educating people on the right diet and the right food to eat because diabetes level two is preventable. Early diagnosis could help in dealing with the condition,” he said.
Econet Wireless is providing technical assistance to ZDA to assist patients in monitoring their health as well as providing self-testing kits.