The Zimbabwe Diabetes Association (ZDA) has urged the government to avail free medication to diabetes patients with most of them struggling to access drugs.
Drugs such as metformin, glibenclamide and insulin injections are costly and not affordable to most patients.
In an interview with CITE, ZDA Bulawayo chapter chairperson, Violet Moyo said the number of people affected by diabetes in Bulawayo has risen.
“We call upon the Government to look into the condition of diabetes with a different eye and provide medication for people affected such as insulin,” said Moyo.
“Diabetes is not an illness but a condition that one can live with as long as they manage the diet lifestyle, exercise and taking medication correctly.
Moyo said some people have lost their lives due to a poor diet.
“Due to our economic situation, we have had cases of people who lose their lives due to failure to secure food in this harsh economic situation.
“We had appealed to the social welfare department and they told us that people should register in their wards where they live under the food aid distribution program happening in the City, but we are yet to engage Minister of State, Judith Ncube regarding the issue,” she said.
Moyo added, without providing the statistics, that the number of young people affected by diabetes has also risen.
“The number of children who now survive on injecting themselves has also risen. We have school children as young as primary age whom we try to counsel and help them understand the situation because it is not easy to be injecting yourself as a child every day.
“We even try to go in hospices every Friday so that we can even talk to parents of these children,” said the chairperson.
She said the organisation is appealing to donors who can also help supply insulin.
“We are even appealing to donors who can supply the association with insulin as there is a shortage of insulin in the country.
“As an association, we have more than 700 members and about 450 are affected,” said Moyo.
Insulin is used to control blood sugar in people who have type 1 diabetes (condition in which the body does not make insulin and therefore cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood) or in people who have type 2 diabetes (condition in which the blood sugar is too high because the body does not produce or use insulin normally) that cannot be controlled with oral medications alone.
Moyo added that the association is working with other organisations to educate the public on diabetes.
“We started the program of running awareness programs around 2012 and we have other organisations and doctors whom we work with to educate the public about diabetes.
“There are other organisations that deal with TB, we also work with Bulawayo City Council clinics and we also do health expos and motivational talks at churches.,” said Moyo.