French multinational drug maker Sanofi, the Kenya Diabetes Study Group and Diabetes Kenya have partnered to train doctors on how to better manage the disease whose prevalence has more than doubled in the last three decades.
The pharmaceutical company, which currently sells five diabetes management drugs in the Kenyan market, said it would sponsor a three-month training programme for more than 2,000 general practitioners offering clinical services to patients suffering from the disease.
Sanofi East Africa Hub Country Chair and General Manager Peter Munyasi said the training is crucial given that there are less than 20 endocrinologists who specialise in diabetes management.
“There is an intrinsic need to build capacity in diabetes management among the general practitioners in Kenya.
“Training is essential to support early diagnosis and effective treatment of people living with diabetes,” he said.
“We are confident that this training, supported by our partners and fully supported by Sanofi, will enable the doctors to gain necessary skills in tackling diabetes locally.”
Doctors who sign up for the programme will access the training through the IDF School of Diabetes digital platform from a laptop or mobile phone.
There are about 20 specialists against an estimated 460,000 people living with diabetes in Kenya.
The move comes at a time when Sanofi is struggling with slowing global sales as its top seller, Lantus, an insulin medication faces growing competition from generics and even Swiss multinational Novartis, which recently signed a deal with China’s Gan & Lee to make copies of the drug.
Some of Sanofi’s drugs in the Kenyan market include Adlyxin, Amaryl, Apidra, Diabeta and Lantus.
The firm, along with other manufacturers like Novo Nordisk, has come under criticism from patient groups and lawmakers in markets such as the US for raising the cost of life-saving insulin.
The firm’s unit in Kenya declined to comment on the current retail prices of its drugs in the local market, saying they vary depending on where the medicines are bought.