MORE than 3 000 patients suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have benefited from a five-year programme spearheaded by the Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Manicaland.

BY VANESSA GONYE

NCDs are estimated to account for 3% of all deaths in Zimbabwe. This year’s World Diabetes Day was celebrated under the theme Diabetes: Nurses make the difference.

The organisation has been assisting thousands of patients and over 40 nurses to manage and control NCD ailments which include diabetes and hypertension.

Addressing delegates on Saturday during celebrations to mark the World Diabetes Day in Chipinge, MSF country representative Reinaldo Ortuno said patients and nurses had been involved in the pilot programme which was implemented in the past four years.

“The theme of World Day of Diabetes this year fits very well with the NCD pilot project that MSF and the Health and Child Care ministry implemented in Manicaland, where we witnessed nurses changing the face of diabetes and hypertension in the province,” Ortuno said.

“Diabetes and hypertension are now being diagnosed at primary healthcare level in the supported facilities, reducing patients’ travelling costs to hospitals,” he said.

Ortuno said the pilot project where his organisation worked together with the ministry to come up with simplified guidelines for nurses, was meant to prove that nurses were able to diagnose, and manage diabetes and hypertension using simplified and standardised guidelines.

MSF supplied 11 health facilities with diabetes and hypertension medicines, medical and laboratory equipment and the commodities required.

It also renovated some facilities to cope with increased patient numbers as well as increased medicine storage space.

Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Raymore Machingura lauded the efforts MSF is making to reintegrate nurses and patients in NCD management.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation in a statement to mark the World Diabetes Day said diabetes was a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation.

“People with diabetes have also been seen to have bad outcomes when infected by COVID-19. Complications can be avoided or delayed with medication, regular screening and treatment.

They said in 2018, diabetes accounted for 3% of all deaths in Zimbabwe, a huge jump from the 1% that was recorded in 2014.

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