Lions Club International said as it cerebrates 100 years of community service, one of its areas of focus is to find a solution to the diabetes problem in the country and offer support to patients.
“Diabetes is a big threat to the lives of many people worldwide...our members from all over the world have agreed that we put it in focus (now),” said Lions Club International second vice president Gudrun Yngvadotirr, who is in the country for a visit.
Her words were echoed by the charity’s first vice district governor for Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan, Rizwan Qadri, who disclosed that 10 per cent of people who attended free test camps conducted in various parts of the country were found to be diabetic.
According to Qadri, the charity sees a big need for the establishment of a diabetes hospital which will offer free services to Tanzanians.
“We are now working on it and when we finalise the processes we will let the public know about it all and how the hospital will work,” he said.
Besides being a major killer in Tanzania and the world over, diabetes is known to eat up a significant percentage of government healthcare budgets in general.
People who live with diabetes in Tanzania spend a large proportion of their incomes on treatment. As a result, diabetes imposes a big economic burden on individuals, families and national health systems.
Data showing the exact prevalence of diabetes is still hard to come by, as the non-communicable disease is still largely under-researched.
But according to the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF), there were more than 822,800 cases of diabetes in Tanzania in 2015.
In the 1980s, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Tanzania was among the lowest in the world: about 0.8 per cent in cities and about 0.9 per cent in rural areas.
However, the disease poses an increased economic burden on the population nowadays, as well as on the national budget for health care.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the numbers of people living with diabetes will more than double by 2030.
Today, diabetes takes more lives than AIDS and breast cancer combined. It is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke.