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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

WHO official urges Kenyans to embrace
indigenous foods to fight diabetes

NAIROBI -- (Xinhua) -- A World Health Organization (WHO) official on Tuesday urged Kenyans to embrace indigenous foods in order to tame rising cases of diabetes.

“Kenyans should embrace indigenous foods which tend to be organic and rich in fiber and vitamins in order reduce cases of diabetes,” Joyce Nato, national professional officer in charge of non-communicable diseases at WHO Kenya, said during the launch of the Report of the Kitale Diabetic Retinopathy Study.

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects the eyes and could lead to blindness.

Nato said more than 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle income countries and over 80 percent of people live with visual impairments in these settings.

She added that diabetic retinopathy is the fifth leading cause of visual impairment and the forth leading cause of blindness in the world.

Michael Gichangi, head of Ophthalmic Services Unit at the Ministry of Health, said approximately 4 percent of Kenyans are affected by diabetes, with 16 percent of the affected having diabetic retinopathy.

Gichangi said diabetic retinopathy is a growing cause of vision loss in Kenya, yet this vision loss can be delayed or prevented if diabetic retinopathy is detected and treated early.

The Ministry of Health intends to screen all diabetes patients to ensure that they are not affected by the diabetic retinopathy.

“Screening has been shown to be effective in detecting early diabetic eye disease,” he said. 

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