Rising cases of diabetes among children shock minister

Dr Joyce Kaducu State Minister for Primary Health Care examining a child with swollen head during health camp in Gulu.(Photo by David Okema)

GULU – The Minister of State for Primary Health Care Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu is perturbed by the rate at which diabetes has increased in Uganda.

While inspecting a medical camp organised by Indo Africa and Uganda Medical Mission at Pece war memorial stadium in Gulu town on August 7th, the minister was shocked by the report that in just two days the team had diagnosed 70 children with diabetes 50 with high blood pressure.

Dr Joyce Kaducu urged the community of Gulu district to intensify fight against non communicable diseases arguing that such diseases still remains a big problem in Uganda and it’s on the rise among the urban population.

“Our people should change their mindset towards checking their health status regularly to prevent non communicable diseases,” she advised.

Kaducu called for collective responsibility in terms of sensitisation on diabetes, oral hygiene and intensifying the fight on non communicable diseases through exercising and regular screening.

Harry Moses Kabonge, the coordinator of Uganda Medical Mission says a feasibility study that they carried out in Gulu recently showed that children and women lack health services and that is why they decided to do a focus medical camp.

Kabonge said the number of diabetes cases registered at the camp is overwhelming and shows that many people in the community have diabetes but are living with it unknowingly.

Dr Joyce Kaducu (Centre) poses for photo with executive members of the Indo-Africa Charitable Society, Uganda Indian Association and local leaders of Gulu district.(Photo by David Okema)

The coordinator said the figure of 70 children diagnosed with diabetes in just one day during the camp is alarming and more cases are still suspected.

The camp is running for 12 days from Monday 6th to Wednesday August 17.

Mark Mpungu, assistant coordinator Uganda Medical Mission said by Monday 6th 1,023 patients from gynaecology, paediatrics, eye and dental cases had been seen.

Mpungu said the health camp will help reduce the overwhelming Gynaecological cases like effects of induced abortion, common miscarriages, intrauterine problems and paediatrics problems among others at the Gulu regional referral hospital.

He said 275 patients with dental illnesses were served and most of them were diagnosed with dental carries, Palpitis, and tumours.

Four children were diagnosed with serious cardiac conditions and will require surgery worth over shs20 million per a child, which amount he says they are trying to source sponsors for from the Indian Association in Uganda.

However, for the minor surgeries, Mpungu said the medics will soon organise a mini camp at Gulu regional referral hospital for children.

In the eye clinic, a total of 433 patients were diagnosed with eyes defects and 200 of them had been treated by Monday. The most common eye problems were cataract, total blindness, teligium, presbyopia among elders and some people in need of specialised eye care have been referred to Dr Agarwal hospital in Kampala.

Harris Patel, Managing Director of Haree Group of Companies says Gulu communities need more health services and he promised to organize another health camp later on.

Patel attributed the high cases of diabetes to the starch rich food commonly eaten by the people in the region.

The medical team includes doctors from Canada, United States, India and the United Kingdom, 49 medical professionals, 10 nurses from government health facilities in Kampala and Gulu in Uganda.

Vasant Lakani the Coordinator Indo-Africa Charitable society based in Canada said last year the team with Uganda Indian Association treated over 15,000 patients with eye diseases in Lira district.

Democratic Party President Nobert Mao who benefited from the eye clinic commended the services at the camp and appealed to the local businessmen to emulate the Indian Association in giving back to the community that provide them the market for their products.




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