Kenya seeks to raise diabetes awareness via SMS
Posted Friday, October 19 2012 at 16:27
Kenyans can now access information on diabetes through their mobile phones, thanks to support from the government, World Diabetes Foundation and Kenya Diabetes and Management Information Centre.
Alerts on treatment, data, and reminders from clinics will all be accessed on phones as part of a recently launched campaign to raise awareness on diabetes in the country.
The campaign dubbed “Tuzungumze Kisukari” (let us talk about diabetes) aims at reaching 20 million Kenyans in the next three months.
“Patients will now be receiving SMS alerts, reminders from clinics, polls and surveys on issues like treatment and drugs. This aims at educating people more about the condition,” said Tonnie Mwangi, International Media Support project assistant.
As the organisation trusted with communication campaigns, IMS also is looking at the possibility of having a full online resource centre where people will be able to download information and access links to related materials.
Diabetes is a condition that results from lifestyle-related factors as well as from genetic predisposition.
According to Kenya Diabetes and Management Information Centre, it is one of the of the lifestyle conditions which has been on the rise in Kenya, with an estimated prevalence of between 2.7 per cent in rural areas and 10.7 per cent in urban settings.
Children as young as five years have fallen victim to diabetes and as a result confined to using insulin injections for the rest of their lives.
Eating habits is one of the factors health experts have pointed out as a contributing cause of diabetes.
“Many people allow stress to bring them down. Coupled with an unhealthy diet, diabetes becomes a very serious disease,” says Dr Gaman Mohammed, an expert on diabetes. Other contributing factors are cigarette smoking, obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
According to statistics, prevalence of the disease is higher in urban areas as opposed to rural areas. However, Dr Mohammed says getting accurate figure on diabetes is a challenge since many people do not go for testing.
The campaign is expected to bridge information gap and possibly help to increase the numbers of Kenyans who show up for testing.