Lodwar, 1st July, 2024 (Public Communication and Media Relations)

The County Department of Health and Sanitation has concluded screenings for diabetes and hypertension in Lodwar, revealing a low uptake of knowledge and information regarding these conditions.

The screenings, conducted in conjunction with the Kenya Red Cross Society, were held at the town centre, opposite the Cooperative Bank, Kataparkakono-Ng’itakito, Lopirpirae, and Tilak Grounds.

The town was selected because the urban population has embraced a sedentary lifestyle, predisposing them to these two non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Out of the 727 people screened, 59 were diagnosed with hypertension, and 15 were found to have type 2 diabetes.

During one of her supervisory visits, the Turkana Central Sub-county Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mercy Kawira, emphasised the need to intensify health education on NCDs in the community through community health promoters and other healthcare workers to enhance diagnosis, treatment, referral, and timely tracing of patients.

“We should ensure early diagnosis and treatment for NCD patients to improve their quality of life,” she said.

She added that most patients are diagnosed while seeking outpatient and inpatient services, which is too late, hence the necessity of these screenings to minimise complications.

According to Patrick Moi, the Turkana Central Sub-county NCD Coordinator, patients diagnosed with either or both conditions were referred to the nearest health facility for enrollment in treatment and timely tracing.

“We should enhance follow-ups at clinics and look forward to intensifying screenings in other major towns in the county for early diagnosis and treatment of clients,” he said.

Moi highlighted that the screenings also provided data needed to plan for client treatment and management, as well as capacity building for healthcare workers on the management of NCDs.

At one of the screening sites, Tilak Grounds, Ekaru Lochu was diagnosed as having hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and high blood pressure. He was given a sweet and soda to raise his blood sugar and monitored for half an hour.

“I really appreciate this screening, as the nurse also advised me to reduce fat and salt in my diet, drink a lot of water, and exercise,” said the 35-year-old resident of Kanamkemer.

As he waited to be tested again, Lochu had a brief consultation with the nutritionist to check if his vitals had improved; if not, he would be linked to a nearby health facility.

The new NCD clients were referred to either Lodwar County Referral Hospital, Ng’itakito, or Kawalase.

With support from the Kenya Red Cross, screenings will continue until the end of August 2024.

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13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024