Moeti said while diabetes can sometimes occur as a result of genetic factor, family support to a relative struggling with the disease is a key benefit for them.
“For instance, families can choose to buy and serve healthy and balanced diets, encourage participation in physical activity, and promote healthy living environments. Prevention of type 2 diabetes and other non-communicable diseases should begin early in childhood and continue throughout life,” Moeti pointed out.
The WHO official observed that in many settings in Africa, half of the people living with Type-2 diabetes are unaware of their disease and are not receiving treatment.
Speaking Wednesday at a program marking the observance of the 2018 World Diabetes Day held at the Ministry of Health in Monrovia, the WHO Regional Director, whose message was conveyed through a proxy, said early diagnosis and treatment are important for preventing complications of diabetes.
Moeti said since diabetes can potentially strike any family, awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors is important to help detect it early.
“Having diabetes can also drain family finances when people with diabetes have to pay out of their own pockets for treatment. Disability or premature death due to diabetes can push families into poverty, diabetes is also a huge burden on the health care system and the national economy,” she added.
According to her, there is hope because recently, world leaders agreed to take responsibility themselves for their countries’ effort to prevent and treat non communicable diseases, including diabetes.
Moeti noted that they committed to implementing public education and awareness campaigns to empower individuals and families with information and education to prevent diseases like type-2 diabetes and ensure that people have access to early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
She, however, used the occasion to call on Governments to accelerate access to such services for everyone, through people-centered primary healthcare and universal health coverage.
She assured that WHO will continue to support governments to improve
the prevention and control of diabetes and other non communicable diseases.
“I urge everyone to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain. Families can help to drive down diabetes through promoting healthy lifestyles and supporting family members with diabetes” she stressed.