Uganda is facing a growing health crisis as the country witnesses a concerning surge in diabetes cases, with recent figures revealing a threefold increase from the previous census conducted in 2014.
This alarming rise in diabetes cases is primarily attributed to evolving lifestyles that have a significant impact on the nation’s health. The burden of managing diabetic patients is a challenge not only for those affected but also for their immediate family members.
Shedding light on the financial aspect, findings indicate that the cost of caring for people with type 2 diabetes accounts for a significant 13% of the Ministry of Health’s budget.
Regrettably, a striking 4 out of 10 Ugandans live in ignorance of their diabetes condition, potentially leading to late diagnoses and the exacerbation of complications that drastically affect their quality of life.
It is a grim reality that approximately 89% of Ugandans with diabetes are neither on medication nor aware of their health status, which results in their presentation to the healthcare system with challenging-to-treat complications.
Dr. Gerald Mutungi, the Assistant Commissioner of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at the Ministry of Health, underscores the severity of the issue. Diabetes is recognized as one of the leading causes of various health complications, including blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes, and non-traumatic lower limb amputations in Uganda. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, an estimated 716,000 adults in Uganda had diabetes in 2021.
It is worth noting that the costs associated with diabetes treatment, with or without complications, tend to be higher in private healthcare facilities compared to public ones.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes is crucial. These include excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, fatigue, slow wound healing, recurring yeast infections, increased hunger, unintentional weight loss, susceptibility to infections, and more.