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LESSONS FROM THE FIRST AFRICAN DIABETES CONGRESS FIRST SCIENTIFIC SESSION ARUSHA- TANZANIA
The first African Diabetes Congress that was much expected has eventually come and gone. There is however, a message that was conveyed to everyone who came, that Africa needs to move forward in area of health needs and policy formulation to cater for those living with chronic complications like Diabetes and other NCDs.
Area of advocacy, foot disease management, Education, accessories amongst other needs are lacking in Africa. Though there are efforts from the East/South African block which must be commended, other zones needs to integrate health systems to deliver on managing these conditions.
At the Congress, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) presented the noble work it does with other partners to project Diabetes Education which is a rudiment of Diabetes Self management practice. The IDF use of Diabetes Conversation Map Education tool in most African Countries has brought revolution in Diabetes Education and they must be commended and supported especially by Ministries of Health of different Countries of Africa.
One of the main issue that was left unaddressed or will I say left aside but important is the issue of FUNDING. Why did everyone shy away from this issue? Though at the sidelines of different committee work and presentation, we all know Funding is an important ingredient to drive the change in Diabetes management and care for people living with Diabetes.
The most emotional part of the Congress was when Children with Type 1 Diabetes from across Africa and beyond presented a song “WE ARE THE WORLD”. The Whole Crowd including the vice President of the Republic of Tanzania Dr M. Bilal, saw clearly the damage Diabetes has caused and it is still on the move as you read this article, with 4.6 million persons loosing their lives yearly.
With all these challenges, what should be done must be collective for synergy is a requirement in managing a chronic disorder. The Government of Countries in Africa must look inward to see how their health Ministries can use the power of synergy to collaborate with NGO’s working in area of Diabetes to help build capacity within the health system. Standardization of care with use of treatment guidelines and support of research and outreach programs integrated into primary care centers.
The plight of children living with type1Diabetes is a matter of urgent attention by everybody. Those who can sponsor with their resources or donate time to help control the menace diabetes is causing the little children, who must be on daily insulin usage for the rest of their lives. The procurement of these products is better imagine, costly, non availability, the list is long. The obstacles to manage type1 diabetes are enormous.
This is to introduce a forth coming programme: “DIABETES YOUTH CAMP FOR CHILDREN LIVING WITH DIABETES”. It will be a 3 day camp where children will be exposed to professionals from across the globe. They will help the children to plan their management of Diabetes. Self empowerment schemes will be taught as income generation is important because the parents of these children cannot withstand all it takes to control Diabetes. Hence if you are a young person living with Diabetes between ages 2 to 20 years, you can send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, (Nigeria) to participate in this program.
The DIABETES YOUTH CAMP program has been shown from research to impact a life time impression and encouragement to any child. There is a feeling and state of readiness to take control of Diabetes after the camp that most children leave with every day of their lives, in the difficult challenges of making choices of healthy eating to control the glucose level.
I am happy for the exposure most professionals who attended the First scientific session of the African Diabetes Congress had to network with one another. It is my desire and hope that the commitments to bring about the change in Diabetes Care in Africa will be sustained with results when we meet in Cameroon. The Election of new officers to manage the affairs of IDF Africa region from 2013 was the height of it all. The new leadership is committed to move the gains recorded forward.
The African Diabetes Congress is a wake up call on Professionals and other organizations working around Diabetes to come together and harmonize their effort and research. The Federal Ministries of health in Nigeria needs to collaborate with NGO’s like Diabetes Association of Nigeria and others working in similar area to roll out DIABETES CONVERSATION MAP PROJECT to all parts of the Country and training of health care Professionals on current dynamics in management of Diabetes in Children and Adults.
Conversation Map Expert Trainer