Camp to help diabetic youth cope with the chronic disease

Over 100 Type 1 diabetic youth drawm from across the country are attending a week-long training on improved diabetic care as well as share messages of hope to fulfil their dreams.
Diabetic youth engage in physical exercises during the week-long training in Kigali yesterday.  John Mbanda.
Diabetic youth engage in physical exercises during the week-long training in Kigali yesterday. John Mbanda.

Over 100 Type 1 diabetic youth drawm from across the country are attending a week-long training on improved diabetic care as well as share messages of hope to fulfil their dreams.

The second diabetes camp is hosted by the national association for people affected by diabetes (ARD). It is being held in Kigali under the theme: “It won’t stop my dream”

Crispin Gishoma, the director ARD, said Type 1 diabetic patients lose hope of living for long once diagnosed with the disease which he says can be reversed once the patient received proper care.

“The life expectancy for a Type 1 diabetic patient is limited but with proper treatment and good care, they can live for a very long time. The message we are sending to them is that they should live their dreams and outlive diabetes which is possible,” Gishoma says.

Gishoma added that the youth in the camp will be trained on different ways of treatment and how they can take good care of themselves.

Some of the topics to be discussed include; general information about diabetes and starting insulin, managing blood sugar, staying active, diabetes care, family as well as nutrition which entails diabetes meal planning and choosing healthier food.

There is no clear data on diabetes prevalence in the country but RDA is currently working with 1060 Type 1 diabetic patients across the country below the age of 26 years.

He urged them to avoid feeding on unhealthy foods that may lead to weight gain which he said worsens the condition.

Weight loss, dizziness, constant headache, urinating frequently, fatigue and thirst are some of the major signs of diabetes.

Jean Pierre Nsengimana, 25, a resident of Huye, has lived with  diabetes for the past five years. He says it was initially difficult for him to accept the reality that he was sick, and condemned to survive on daily insulin injections for the rest of his life.

“I couldn’t believe that I was diabetic because no one was diabetic in my family, and I kept wondering what had caused it and why me of all people.

“However, when I attended the first ARD camp and saw that there were many other youth like me, I came to terms with my situation and I am taking my treatment as well as pursuing my dreams like any other normal human being.” Nsengimana said.

He, however, says that access to drugs and medical examinations to monitor their health condition as is still very expensive.

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