Joyce Mukucha and Ropafadzo Ndangariro
There is need to encourage girls and women to seek diagnosis and treatment for ailments that may prevent them from achieving positive health outcomes, Harare Provincial Affairs Minister Miriam Chikukwa has said. Speaking during the World Diabetes Day commemorations in Harare yesterday, Minister Chikukwa said many women with gestational diabetes experience pregnancy complications, which include high blood pressure, large birth weight babies and obstructed labour.
“Approximately 175 000 Zimbabweans die from diabetes mellitus complications every year and sadly, over half of these are women,” she said. Commemorations ran under the theme “Women and Diabetes – Our Right to a Healthy Future”.
“Stigmatisation and discrimination faced by people with diabetes is particularly pronounced for girls and women to carry a double burden of discrimination because of their health status,” said Minister Chikukwa.
“Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2,1 million deaths each year, as a result of socio-economic conditions girls and women with diabetes experience in accessing cost effective diabetes prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care particularly in developing countries.” Minister Chikukwa said the Ministry of Health and Child Care should ensure that hospitals and clinics are well equipped with diabetes testing facilities. She also said it is important to give special attention to diabetes to successfully meet the goals and the objectives of the economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM-ASSET).
Zimbabwe Diabetes Association (ZDA)’s Dr John Mangwiro urged women to consume food and take contraceptives wisely as a way of preventing diabetes effects. He said half of the women living with diabetes are not aware of it and it is mostly triggered with foods they consume and contraceptives they take.
“Women are more than men and one in every 10 women, has got diabetes. I urge women and girls to consult doctors if the contraceptives they take suite their health conditions, if they get pregnant whilst the HBA is high, there are high chances for them to birth to disabled children,” said Dr Mangwiro. Dr Mangwiro said ZDA was in many parts of the country doing free testing and providing free medication to the diabetic people.