Diabetes is claiming more lives than HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe, it has been revealed.
Speaking ahead of the World Diabetes Day 2012 campaign, the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association said the number of diabetes-related deaths in the country is soaring due largely to the high consumption of refined foods.
The association’s national chairperson, Ngoni Chigwana, said 10 per cent of Zimbabwe’s population suffered from diabetes in 2005. However, this number has more than trebled as a result of people’s unhealthy lifestyles.
He said the prevalence of diabetes mellitus would continue to rise as recent research had shown that 50-80 per cent of all people affected with the disease were unaware of their condition.
Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Henry Madzorera, said the government had “taken steps to educate the public on non-communicable diseases” and maintain good health.
He added that more focus was being put on disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, with particular attention being paid to “populations migrating from rural to urban centres”.
But Dr Elopy Sibanda, a consulting physician at Parirenyatwa Hospital, said little had been done to educate Zimbabweans on how to prevent the serious health consequences of high blood pressure, such as heart or kidney disease, or the equally serious effects of type 2 diabetes.
The health expert added that most health resources were being spent on HIV prevention and treatment, despite evidence suggesting that more people are affected by conditions such as diabetes.

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