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Diabetes cases to double by 2040

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The Diabetes Association of Malawi (Dam) has expressed fear that the number of people who are diabetic in the country will increase significantly in the coming years due to inadequated sensitisation campaigns to inform and test people of diabetes.

The fears are coming after the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has warned that the number of people suffering from diabetes in Africa will reach 34 million by 2040 from the current 14 million if authorities will not take swift action.

The federation said Africa has the highest percentage—66.7—of undiagnosed people, who are at higher risk of developing harmful and costly complications.

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Commenting on the development Education and Membership Secretary at Dam, Joseph Phiri, said the problem with Malawi in tackling the disease is lack of adequate resources to enable them sensitise and test people so that they are aware of their diabetes status.

“I cannot tell the world that we are doing better in tackling diabetes now because there are still a lot of people coming to our clinics to get treatment but a lot of them are coming after the disease has fully developed in them, so what needs to happen is that we step up sensitisation campaigns so that people are aware of the disease before things get out of hand,” Phiri said.

According to the IDF the disease will be the second leading cause of death in Africa unless there are ways to tame it.

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Phiri said the latest research indicates that about 3.6 percent of the Malawi population is diabetic while IDF shows that there were 203,000 cases of diabetes in Malawi in 2015.

“We need to be getting these figures down, especially also on the type one diabetes that develops in children, we need resources so that we can be going in schools and test pupils, on their own they are not coming but on the few we are testing a lot are being diagnosed,” said Phiri.

Diabetes was the cause of at least 321,000 deaths in Africa in 2015.

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