Worries raised that diabetes not getting enough attention

Islands

A DOCTOR has raised concern over the prevalence of diabetes in East New Britain (ENB).
Dr Alexander Maha is the head of curative health services at the Nonga General Hospital.
He spoke about the lifestyle disease during a Islands Petroleum dinner in Kokopo over the weekend.
He said diabetes was “special” in ENB and associated with tuberculosis, heart disease, anaemia, HIV and hypertension.
Maha said the Health Department unfortunately did not have a control programme for diabetes with no organised surveillance system either.
He said the Frangipani Clinic at the hospital reported one case in every four adults having high blood pressure and one in 12 with diabetes.
Statistics reveal that ENB has about 38,000 patients with diabetes – the country’s highest rate.
“Every diabetic on average spends K360 every year on health care. For ENB, that is K40 million,” Maha said. “ENB’s HIV prevalence is 0.32 per cent.
“So we are looking at 960 HIV-positive people. But there is a decent HIV control programme for those 960. We need the same for the 38,000 with diabetes.
“Half of the diabetics in ENB are not big, fat people but very skinny people. So the prevention measures that we talk about what to eat is not going to work.”
Maha said that with proceeds from the 2017 Colour Run organised by Islands Petroleum and donations from businesses, the diabetics centre now had modern equipment.
“We want to have an effective clinical services package,” he said.

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