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Safaricom launches Sh43m diabetes centre for children

Diagnostic centre will focus on early detection, comprehensive care of patients

In Summary

• Total of 30,000 community members to be trained

• The condition is prevalent in Garissa but most people don't know they are sufferers 

Garissa Governor Ali Korane and Safaricom Foundation chairman Joseph Ogutu during the launch of the early diabetes diagnostic centre on Friday
WAR ON DIABETES: Garissa Governor Ali Korane and Safaricom Foundation chairman Joseph Ogutu during the launch of the early diabetes diagnostic centre on Friday
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Safaricom Foundation is setting up a Sh43 million early diabetes diagnostic centre for children in Garissa and the neighbouring counties.

The centre will focus on early detection, comprehensive care, and health care as well as setting up child-friendly diabetes clinics.

Foundation chairman Joseph Ogutu said Garissa was chosen because it has a high prevalence of children with the disease.

"We will use this facility and community-based approach in addressing and managing diabetes in children. Our goal is to reduce premature mortality rates among children and young adults with diabetes in the targeted regions,” Ogutu said during the launch on Friday.

The project will be implemented in partnership with the county government. 

Ogutu said the foundation is working towards reducing the prevalence rate of the disease in Garissa, Kitui, Wajir, Mandera and Marsabit counties.

A total of 30,000 community members will be trained and teachers will be sensitised on common signs of type 1 diabetes in children. An individualised tracking system will also be developed.

An estimated 478,000 Kenyans are diabetic. Sixty per cent of them do not know they have the condition.

Garissa Governor Ali  Korane said diabetes cases are increasing alarmingly in the county. 

It is unfortunate, he said, that many people are either unaware of the condition or are not exposed to interventions for early detection and treatment.

Korane said “this disease has affected so many people in the county but the unfortunate part is that not many are aware. We appreciate Safaricom for having the diagnostic centre in the county.” 

The project will enhance both the county and national efforts to reduce the prevalence of Type 1 Diabetes which currently stands at 3.3% nationally and which, if not checked, is projected to rise to 4.5% by 2025.

The three-year programme seeks to reverse the trend in Garissa and create a synergy stipulated in Kenya National Diabetes Strategy