Gov’t urged to give priority to diabetic patients

Sukai Kah, training facilitator for the Gambia Diabetes Association (GDS) has called on the government to give priority to diabetic patients to minimise their complications and suffering.

“The government should give diabetes a priority. Let them have sufficient medical apparatus and healthcare personnel to check and care for diabetic patients. The government should give enough supply of medical apparatus to our Diabetes Ward at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH),” she said in an exclusive interview with The Point at Kayen Ultrasound Scanning Centre in Bakoteh.

She said health personnel should have enough medication and medical apparatus such as insulin and testing machines to check patients’ blood pressure and give them the needed information so that patients could manage their diabetes well. According to her, this would help prevent patients from diabetic amputation.

“If patients are going on their monthly routine for medical check-up at public hospitals, then they should be provided with the needed information to manage the disease,” Kah, also owner of Kayen Ultrasound Scanning Centre, said.

Kah maintained that there is a greater need for the government to empower medical personnel with the requisite skills and knowledge to ensure they attend to patients and give them the needed medical advice.

“Diabetes is not curable but it is manageable. Effective management of diabetes can delay development of complications like blindness, damage of kidney, and damage of nerves which can delay or prevent diabetic foot amputation,” she noted.

In Gambian society, there are several traditional healers who claim to have the knowledge to cure diabetes. Thus, several diabetes patients have been visiting such traditional healers in search of a cure.

In this regard, Mrs Kah said there is also a need for traditional healers to be empowered with knowledge as to how this chronic disease works. She noted that if someone is infected with diabetes, his or her organs such as the kidney will be involved in excessive filtering of blood and expel the toxic and urine from the body.

“Again, when a patient’s blood sugar is higher, his or her kidney and heart over work and if those organs over work it can damage them. Now considering how the traditional healers work, they do not measure dosages compared to modern hospitals who give patients dosages that are proportional to the patients’ weight and ages,” she pointed out.

She reiterated that traditional healers will provide medication to patients without scientific measurement. This, she added, causes herbal intoxication.

Thus, she advised all to report to nearest conventional healthcare facilities should they realise abnormalities in their system to have a medical check-up such as checking their sugar level and blood pressure.

Mrs Kah said the Gambia Diabetes Association has been going to Outpatient Department, training nurses on diabetic patients’ handling. She, therefore, advised all to work collectively to minimise the constraints of diabetic patients.

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