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80 000 people in Botswana have Diabetes

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Diabetes has increased in Africa between 1990 and 2015 due to rapid development and urbanisation, which were seen as a boon among economists, but now has health experts worried for the future.

Mauritius leads the pack of countries with a high diabetes prevalence rate of 17 percent, which is two to five times greater than rates in the other African countries according to a report released on Monday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). In Botswana, 80 000 people (about four percent of the population) suffer from diabetes and there are many more who are undiagnosed, reveals Chairman of Diabetes Association of Botswana (DAB), Dr. Joel Dipesalema.

Two and firty children with diabetes are registered with the association. There are three types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes (a condition where the body stops producing insulin, an essential hormone produced by the pancreas to convert glucose into energy); type 2 diabetes (a condition that develops over time where the body is unable to use insulin properly); and gestational diabetes (a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, genetics and lifestyle factors). About 90 percent of Batswana have type 2 diabetes according to Dr. Dipesalema, however many of these cases go undiagnosed as there are very few symptoms initially.

Symptoms for diabetes include fatigue; excessive thirst and urination, slow wound healing and skin infections, blurred vision and regular bouts of thrush. As these symptoms can be very mild and develop gradually, many people fail to recognise them as warning signs of diabetes. “It takes on average seven years for a person to get diagnosed with diabetes for the first time,” Dr. Dipesalema said. “Sadly, the result is that a lot of people with type 2 diabetes have already developed complications by the time they are diagnosed.” Diabetes complications are serious and include heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations and kidney failure. In most cases these complications could have been avoided entirely by early diagnosis and proper treatment. Diabetes is seen as one cause of disability that greatly affects the future development and the use of resources of African states. This is because a diabetes patient requires three times more health resources than a non-diabetic, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Globally, 366 million people have diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predicts this number to rise to 552 million by 2030.The greatest increase in diabetes is expected to be in Africa. It’s predicted that the incidence of diabetes in Africa will have almost doubled by 2030. The main causes for this dramatic rise are urbanisation and obesity. Dr. Dipesalema said a lot of people are migrating from rural to urban areas in pursuit of work and better opportunities. In a short time their lifestyles change dramatically: they adopt a westernised diet high in fat, sugar and salt, and get far less exercise than they were used to. Cultural beliefs also play a big role.

According to registered dietician Oarabile Ngwako, many African communities still see weight gain as a sense of achievement. “It signifies dignity and respect, and shows that you are enjoying wealth and a good life. Being thin is also associated with hardship, trouble at home and serious illnesses such as TB or HIV/Aids.” This weight gain leads to overweight and obesity, which is a great precursor for type 2 Diabetes. Ngwako advised that diabetes could be prevented through reduction of sugar intakes like canned drinks, putting a stop to tobacco smoking and incorporating healthy meals into diets.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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