By Duncan Mlanjira
Muslim Youth United (MYU) will offer free testing for diabetes during its annual Blood Donation Camp it has organised on Sunday as part of observing the World Diabetes Day that falls today, November 14.
The free diabetes testing will be offered from 10am-2pm at Mpingwe Sports Club in Limbe for brothers and Rawdhatul Yatama Orphange at Mudi for sisters where the two blood donation camps will be held.
In a statement, MYU says they have limited test kits available and the exercise will be done on a first-come basis.
“One in 10 people worldwide are living with diabetes and 1 in five people have diabetes but they don’t know it,” says MYU’s statement.
“Are you aware? Come for free testing during the MYU Blood Donation Camp to know your status.
“One person dies of diabetes every 8 seconds. So by the time you read this message a person has died of diabetes. Know your status before it is too late,” says the MYU statement.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces and this leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia).
Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes) is characterized by a lack of insulin production.
Type 2 (formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes) is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. It often results from excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Gestational diabetes is hyperglycaemia that is first recognized during pregnancy.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 422 million adults globally were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980.
“The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population,” says WHO.
“This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.”
WHO further says diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation.
Healthy diet, physical activity and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. In addition diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with medication, regular screening and treatment for complications.
“In 2007 UN General Assembly adopted resolution 61/122 designating 14 November as World Diabetes Day. The document recognized “the urgent need to pursue multilateral efforts to promote and improve human health, and provide access to treatment and health-care education.
“The resolution encourages Member States to develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes in line with the sustainable development of their health-care systems.
Nurses make the difference
WHO says the theme for the 2020 World Diabetes Day 2020 is ‘The Nurse and Diabetes’ — a campaign that aims to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.
“Nurses currently account for over half of the global health workforce. They do outstanding work to support people living with a wide range of health concerns.
“People who either live with diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition need their support too.
“People living with diabetes face a number of challenges, and education is vital to equip nurses with the skills to support them,” says the WHO.
Meanwhile, MYU are conducting this blood donation camp for the second year running and this time around to greatly assist Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS), which has been facing challenges to collect blood due to the COVID-19 pandemic as its voluntary donors were not forthcoming due to movement preventive measures.
MBTS, a non-profit organisation established by the Ministry of Health in 2003 to ensure safe and adequate supply of blood to hospitals throughout the country, fails to meet the target it is required to collect of 120,000 units of blood annually but only manages 63,000 units.
Most of the voluntary donors are secondary and college learners who patronise MBTS’ collection vans which visit their learning institutions but these learners had been on COVID-19 holiday since March but when schools reopened they went straight preparing for their examinations.
MBTS also visits work places, places of worship, communities and clubs with the strong message that the under-collection of blood puts lives of many patients at risk.
On average an adult has approximately 5 litres of blood and one can only donate the maximum quantity of 450mls, which is less than 10 percent of the total blood.
The donation process takes just 10-15 minutes. A single pint of blood can save the lives of 3 adults of 3-4 children, as the blood is separated into components and paediatric packs respectively.
Imran Larry, project coordinator for the exercise, said they are doing this in cognizance of the need that the countries’ brothers and sisters face in various health centers, who need blood to improve their health conditions.
“We believe this is as an act of service to human welfare,” he said. “We face different problems in our societies and we can only solve them if we collectively come together in this manner to make our world a better place for everyone.
“One of our core values is to assist those in need whenever possible and since we have many other initiatives we have undertaken since the formation of MYU in 2014 we included the Blood Donation Camp as one of them
“We are urging our members and the general public to join us because it is important to help MBTS, which indicates that COVID-19 affected their blood collection,” Imran said.