MoH wave flag over diabetics, launches screening campaign

MoH wave flag over diabetics, launches screening campaign
A laboratory technician at Juba Teaching Hospital performs a free test on a patient. [Sheila Ponnie, City Review]

Your health could be in danger if you continue to ignore signs of diabetes and hypertension, the director-general of medical services at the national ministry of health, Dr Harriet Akello Pasquale, warned.

Dr Pasquale said the high prevalence of certain tropical diseases elevates the level of risk for the South Sudan population, necessitating preventive measures.

“South Sudan is a country that has a high prevalence of all the tropical diseases, so all our attention goes to the management of these diseases at the expense of diabetes and hypertension,” she said.

She was speaking at the launch of a three-day free testing camp for diabetes at Juba Teaching Hospital on Wednesday. The check-up was sponsored by Tamy Pharma, a private pharmaceutical company, in collaboration with Sinocare and the Ministry of Health.

Dr Pasquale noted that the free testing camp provides health service providers an opportunity to play their advocacy role in getting more people to test, learn, and get equipped with vital information about diabetic management and control.

“Most of our people are diagnosed long after they have developed complications,” she said. “Get the communities to get out and get tested.”

About diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Over time, high blood glucose can result in heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, dental disease, nerve damage, and foot-related problems.

As of 2021, the prevalence of diabetes in South Sudan stood at 6.5 per cent.

Health experts believe that knowledge of diabetes and adherence to management guidelines by physicians and patients are critical for reducing complications and improving health outcomes.

Dr Pasquale said the three-day medical camp, which opened on Wednesday, provides a great opportunity for the citizens to test and know their status.

“Focus on prevention, and more efforts on health education are required…Today should be a busy day at the health facilities.”

Diabetes patients are encouraged to go for regular follow-ups.

Some signs and symptoms of diabetes include feeling thirstier, having frequent urination, losing weight without trying, being fatigued, and having irritable mood changes. Some other signs include having blurry vision, slow-healing sores and gums, skin and vaginal infections. She advised all medical facilities to integrate a free screening service into their services to the public.