Gambia Commemorates World No Diabetes Day

By Sarjo Camara Singateh

The Gambia joined the international community to commemorate World No Healthy food on displayDiabetes Day at a ceremony held at the Central Medical Store conference hall on Friday, 14 November, 2014.

It was observed with the presentation of speeches and the display of healthy food to promote healthy eating and physical exercise and to discourage the consumption of junk, fatty and sugary foods.

In his introductory remark, Mr. Modou Njai, the Director of Health Promotion and Education, started by advising the producers of food to be selling part of what they produce and consume the other half rather than selling all and not eating nutritious food.

Mr. Njai described the theme for this year’s commemoration “Healthy Living and Diabetes” as a reminder for everyone to change their eating habits and start consuming healthy foods.

Mr. Momodou Lamin Gassama, Senior Health Promotion and Communication Officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO) country office, said diabetes caused 36 million deaths, or 63% of the 57 million deaths that occurred globally in 2008.

Mr. Gassama said diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin, he added, is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. He said Hyperglycaemia, raised blood sugar, is uncontrolled diabetes which over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the heart, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.

Dr. Abubacarr Jagne, who is responsible for Diabetes screening at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, in his presentation, revealed that in the Gambia more women suffer from diabetes complications than men. He urged people to change their eating habits. He said there were 95 hospital admission or 5.2 % cases and all of which are diabetes.

Dr. Jagne said diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure, adding that diabetes retinopathy is an important cause of blindness and that it occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina.

“One percent of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes,” said Dr. Jagne.

Mr. Omar Badjie, the Programme Manager Non Communicable Disease (NCD) and Focal Point for Tobacco, in his closing remarks, also urged people to stop using oily, fatty and sugary foods all the time without doing enough physical exercise. He also advised the members of the public to be consuming more fruits and vegetables

Deputy Director of Health Promotion and Education Directorate, Mr. Momodou Saho, chaired the event.