Diabetes affects both young and old. And even though it does not have a cure someone can be able to live their lives in a normal way while suffering from it. Kagiso Motshabi (25) has been living with the disease for the past six years but that has never stopped her from doing the things that she likes doing and pursuing her dreams. Even though she always has to monitor what she eats and take medication she said that she has been well.
She was first diagnosed with the disease when she was doing her first year at the University of Botswana (UB) and felt like her life was crumbling. She suspects that she got the disease from being obese. As a child she would eat just about anything, including junk. She said before she was diagnosed she used to have very painful headaches that got her in hospital. Now she makes sure that she exercises in order to keep fit and also eats healthily. She advised people to follow healthy diets to avoid the disease. "People should not gamble with their lives, because some people end up being amputated just because of diabetes," she said. What made it easier for her was that she accepted the disease as a part of her life and didn’t let it get her down.
November 14 saw Botswana joining the world in celebrating World Diabetes Day. Speaking at the commemoration at Molapo Piazza Head of Block 6 Clinic, Dr Aderonke Oyewo, said diabetes continues to be a major concern. She said it affects mostly the people in the low and middle income countries. She revealed that Botswana has 30 600 patients in the age category of 20-79 that are living with diabetes. "The number of people living with diabetes is increasing in every country. International diabetes federation (IDF) estimates that there are 387 million people living with diabetes worldwide; a global prevalence of 8.35%," she said. Dr Oyewo said they are working around the clock with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to fight this and that is why they established the centres for diabetes in Francistown and Gaborone in 2011.
She said the diabetes centre in Block 6 will continue to provide quality service of international standards to all diabetic patients. "Over 1000 patients are seen and managed at this clinic and we have an estimate of about 4000 patients on the list," she said. Dr Gontle Moleele – an Endocrinologist at Bokamoso Hospital – encouraged that all stakeholders involved should take part in developing and implementing the care processes. She said that is important because if the disease is not properly treated it can cause irreversible damage to the body. "It may damage the eyes and the kidneys which may lead to kidney failure as well as damage the nerve to the feet causing burning pains and numbness," Dr Moleele said.