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Minister speaks on diabetes menace

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VICTORIA FALLS — Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera has attributed the rise in cases of diabetes to failure to maintain a healthy diet and lack of exercise.

Report by Nduduzo Tshuma Staff Reporter

He said the development was worrying especially in third world countries.

Madzorera said this on the sidelines of the official opening of the third Wonca Africa region conference in Victoria Falls yesterday.

Wonca is an acronym for the World Organisation of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians, or World Organisation of Family Doctors.

Madzorera said non-communicable diseases that were not common 30 years ago were now prevalent in third world countries.

The minister was responding to reports that 10 000 new cases of diabetes were recorded in Zimbabwe last year while 20 000 new cases of hypertension were registered during the same period.

“This is a problem that has been witnessed worldwide particularly in third world countries. They are now becoming diseases of the underdeveloped world,” Madzorera said.

“The problem is lifestyle choices (resulting in) obesity, the consumption of fatty foods from food chains.

“The issue has become so serious that last year we held a meeting in the United States to find strategies on how to reduce such cases.”

Madzorera urged people to avoid fatty, sugary foods and consumption of too much salt.

“Avoiding these foods and exercising reduces cases of non-communicable diseases and other vascular problems,” he said.
“They should eat homemade meals without too much fat. Prepackaged foods also cause problems. You see some people going for prepackaged vegetables in shops yet those fresh ones in the markets are actually healthier.”

Meanwhile, addressing doctors from 14 African countries and from nine other regions at the Wonca conference under the theme “Roles and responsibilities of an African Family Physician”, Madzorera urged doctors to hold governments to account by asking them to implement the Alma Ata Declaration of 1978.

The declaration calls on nations to adopt a primary healthcare approach.

“The declaration is our document. We must hold our governments accountable to implement it,” he said.

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