CHAK held a 75-kilometre walk to commemorate World Diabetes Day and raise awareness on the importance of screening. The walk which took place on November 10-14, 2018, was flagged off by the PCEA General Assembly Moderator Rt Rev Julius Guantai Mwamba at PCEA Kikuyu Township Church.
The walk had three key objectives:
The walk was organized into four parts; the first section was from Kikuyu to Kimende, on November 10, 2018, with a total of 12 CHAK staff participating. The Kikuyu to Kimende section ran concurrently with a procession around Kikuyu Town to raise awareness on screening and referral activities being undertaken at PCEA Kikuyu Township Church and encourage members of the general public to get screened.
The third section was from Kikopey to Nakuru with a total of 10 CHAK staff participating on November 13. The walkers braved rain and sun to sensitise the public on diabetes.
A procession beginning from Nakuru Railways Grounds to PCEA Nakuru West Medical College was held on World Diabetes Day on November 14 and attended by the Nakuru County Health Team led by CEC Dr. Zakayo Kariuki Gichuki.
Screening and referral activities were held at the Kikopey Shopping Centre on November 13 and PCEA Nakuru West Medical College on World Diabetes Day.
The CHAK Diabetes Walk 2018 culminated in the World Diabetes Day commemoration event in Nakuru hosted by CHAK in collaboration with PCEA Church, PCEA Nakuru West Health Centre & Medical Training College and the County Government of Nakuru. The 2018 World Diabetes Day theme was ‘The family and Diabetes’.
Speaking at the event, Dr Gichuki noted that the County had the mandate to provide health services but not the monopoly and thanked CHAK and other partners for coming on-board in the fight against diabetes and NCDs. He noted that the NCDs burden could be addressed by aggressively investing in community health and preventive and promotive health. He further the public to ensure they were screened for NCDs at least once every year.
Noting that Insulin for children was given free at the county referral hospital, he added that adults were able to access the treatment at a subsidized cost of Ksh250 while patients with NHIF cards paid virtually nothing.
Speaking at the commemorative event, CHAK head of health services Dr Cyprian Kamau noted that over 40 per cent of Kenya’s population had never been screened for diabetes. He noted that there was need to screen more people for early diagnosis and management. Adding that there was need to promote self care and support for people living with diabetes, Dr Kamau noted that the family was the basic support unit, hence the theme ‘Diabetes and the family’.
It has been noted that family and community support in diabetes care has a substantive effect in improving health outcomes for people living with diabetes. Dr Kamau noted that the family provided support to the patient, majorly influencing decisions such as healthy eating. In addition, the family provided finances and treatment adherence support.
He thanked CHAK Diabetes partners, Novo Nordisk and World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) for their support. Through Novo Nordisk support, the cost of insulin in CHAK hospitals has fallen from Ksh1,500 seven years ago to Ksh500 currently. The WDF has given support towards diabetes prevention and early diagnosis.
Echoing the Nakuru Health CEC’s sentiments, Dr Kamau said that there was need to avail screening services in dispensaries and the community level. A key challenge, he noted, was getting men screened for diabetes.†
Dr Kamau also thanked CHAK Diabetes Walk partners for their support, saying it would be an annual event with an aim to create awareness and get as many people as possible screened for diabetes.
The impact of Diabetes on families is immense. The disease is debilitating to the affected individual and treatment has been shown to consume up to 50 per cent of the average family’s annual income. Advocacy for improved access to affordable diabetes medicines and care is urgent.