Rabat - Moroccan Health Minister Hussain Al Wardi said on Monday that approximately two million Moroccans suffer from diabetes, but roughly half of them do not know they are affected by the potentially debilitating illness.
Rabat – Moroccan Health Minister Hussain Al Wardi said on Monday that approximately two million Moroccans suffer from diabetes, but roughly half of them do not know they are affected by the potentially debilitating illness.
During a Health Ministry meeting with the House of Representatives in Rabat, Al Wardi said that approximately 625,000 Type II diabetics and 15,000 Type I diabetics in Morocco follow the treatments necessary in order to control the disease’s symptoms. The rest of the people affected by the disease are either unaware of its presence or are unable to afford or manage the associated treatment methods.
The Minister also announced a new awareness campaign on diabetes that will begin on April 7 and end after one month at an estimated cost of MAD 3,000,000. The campaign aims to benefit 500,000 people by identifying them as diabetes patients and train local medical professionals on the intricacies of the disease.
The National Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes for 2012 to 2016 – a part of the Global Diabetes Plan by the World Health Organization – is in the process of being executed by the government. The plan aims to reduce complications and deaths caused by both types of the disease.
Type II diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is the most common form of the disease and typically develops as a result of chronically high consumption of sugar by the patient, causing the body to stop producing the hormone insulin.
Insulin, a substance that Type I diabetes patients are born without the ability to produce, is needed by the body in order to extract glucose, a form of sugar, from the blood stream so that it can be used as energy. Only 5 percent of diabetics have Type I; and the vast majority of them are children.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, an organization that Morocco joined in 1995, 9,473 adult diabetics died from the disease in 2015. The Federation’s most recent scorecard on Morocco, which was released in July 2014, says the North African kingdom’s planned policies to combat the disease are only half-implemented because of “little coordination between government and civil society.”
Al Wardi pointed out that since the release of the scorecard, 1,440 doctors have participated in a year-long field training program on the disease. In addition, the Ministry’s recent contributions in the fight against diabetes range from the organization of events on therapy education, currently in 70 health centers, and the design of a special prevention plan for at-risk patients.
Morocco’s fight against diabetes requires the availability of free and widely accessible ways to obtain a diagnosis and to regularly measure patients’ blood sugar, the Minister said, adding that the coming anti-diabetes campaign is a step in the right direction.
The Health Ministry has held media campaigns to increase awareness of the disease in the past. Just last year, the Ministry launched a media blitz during Ramadan (June and July 2015) under the name “All Against Diabetes,” and a second awareness campaign during November and December to mark World Diabetes Day.