07 Apr 2016 18:30pm
OSHAKATI, 07 APR (NAMPA) - A large number of diabetics do not know they have the disease and testing them is the first step to make them aware of such condition, Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku says.
He made these remarks here on Thursday during the commemoration of the 2016 World Health Day.
Haufiku told those present the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 350 and 400 million people worldwide have one or another form of diabetes.
He said an estimated 1.5 million deaths in the world were as a direct cause of diabetes, which translates to 4 200 deaths per day or two people dying from the disease per second.
Eighty per cent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, including Namibia, and of concern is the fact that unlike developed countries, in developing countries it is the younger generation that is affected, the health minister explained.
In Namibia, he said, it is estimated that four per cent of deaths among adults in 2008 were due to diabetes.
He noted the WHO predicts that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death globally if nothing is done to change the current trajectory.
The minister described diabetic deaths as largely preventable, adding that it can be delayed by simple lifestyle changes.
A healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining normal body weight, avoiding smoking tobacco products and the moderate use of or completely avoiding alcohol are some lifestyle changes to prevent diabetic deaths.
Before the ceremony, Haufiku and many others participated in a 3-kilometre walk from Continental No. 1 in Oshakati East to the Independence Stadium in Oshakati West where the commemoration was held.