The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes, an insidious killer disease that claims lives worldwide, should be the concern of every Liberian, including the government agency responsible for the health of the people, the Ministry of Health.
That was a statement by Mr. James Momoh, the chief executive officer of the Liberia Diabetes Center (LDC), when he spoke to journalists in an interview yesterday on Front Street in Monrovia. Mr. Momoh, who resides in the United States, is in the country to promote diabetes awareness and prevention. He said, the LDC, established nearly two years ago, is determined to provide enough education to Liberians so that they can use the center to check their blood sugar levels, as well as receive other nutrients and vitamins that would help boost their immune systems against other diseases.
Momoh regretted that the lack of information on diabetes, adding that poor management of the condition has led to many Liberians suffering blindness and impotence, while others have had their legs amputated. “Diabetes is a serious disease which can be delayed and prevented for any sufferer to enjoy better health in the long run,” Momoh said.
He explained that the Liberia Diabetes Center has programs that diabetics can use to minimize and even control the disease, but said that can only be done if people check their sugar levels to know their status.
The LDC is using a holistic approach to help diabetics to comfortably manage the disease, said Momoh. “The center also provides other support, including checking blood pressure, evaluating the heart, as well as checking oxygen level,” he said.
Of the three types of diabetes Momoh noted that Type 1 is the most dangerous, because it is inherited from birth. He explained further that Type 2 is prevalent in Liberia, and comes as people age and because of poor eating habits. Momoh said Type 3 Diabetes is mainly found in pregnant women; and therefore, it is important that pregnant women check their sugar levels to know their status.
Among the steps people can take to improve their eating habits is to cut down on consuming soft drinks, energy drinks and juices by increasing their intakes of water and calorie-free drinks, and doing physical exercise, said Momoh. “We must also use a small amount of oil for cooking and people must eat plant-based proteins like beans instead of meat and chicken. These and other programs at the center are meant to increase an individual’s activity to delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes,” he said.
He warned that if diabetes is poorly managed it can lead to serious complications, including eye, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, nerve damage, amputation, pregnancy complications and impotence. “The good news is that we can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes through a healthy lifestyle by changing our diet, increasing our level of physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight,”advised Momoh. He announced a vigorous campaign, using the services of volunteers, to create awareness on diabetes and its prevention in the coming weeks, “first as a pilot project in Montserrado County and gradually to other counties.”