Catastrophic Results of Ignorance and Lack of Knowledge on Diabetes

Staff Reporter

, Feature

Eneres Zuda was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 44 and the condition left her with an amputated left leg after diagnosis.

“I started noticing some burns under my foot and a wound developed after I pricked it with a sharp object, I thought I had step on something like a twig since I used to walk long distance to my work place, am a stone crusher thus how I make ends meet.

Owami Sithole

“My leg started swelling and some puss inside it I removed the puss and it was very painful to a point that I could not walk,” Zuda narrated how her nightmare started.

She said she was advised by one of her neighbor to visit Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital as the situation had got worse

“The doctors did some test and x-rays and they told me that my leg has been affected badly with Gangrene, a condition in which living tissue like skin, muscle bone begins to decay and die because blood flow and oxygen to an area is blocked or because harmful bacteria invade the body’s tissues after entering through a wound, the condition   most commonly affects the feet, toes, hands, and fingers and my leg was to be amputated on the lower limb

“The doctors told me that my blood pressure and  blood sugar level were very high and  I  was admitted on the very day had to  start treatment on the day awaiting  for surgery as doctors had earlier  said my feet was useless due to gangrene ,  without surgery  it would  result in serious health complication,” said Zuda .

She is however determined to fight her condition after amputation surgery. “Each morning when I wake up, I tell myself that I must fight this condition , It took me close to seven month from February this year to heal my lower limb ,  but now the challenge is am no longer able to do normal house chores like cooking and sweeping are now almost impossible tasks for me  I cannot  fetch water get to the  bathroom by myself  all has to be in assistance of my two  thirteen year old niece whom I stay with , and they are no longer able to attend school because they have to take care of me ,

“They have to push me in my wheel chair at most seven kilometers to and fro every single day to the place where we do stone crushing as means of survival, per day we can crash at most two wheel barrows and one wheel barrow we sell it at $2, even less some customer will want to negotiate to at most $1.50 and not all time we get customers, life has become very hard,” she said.

Eneres’s niece Catherine Ngata (13) and Shupikai Zuda (13) both said life is very tough as they get to take care of their aunty.

“We no longer attend school because we have to take care of our aunty, cook, lift her from one point to another as there are some other terrain which does not require a wheel chair, fetch water and we walk close to six kilometers every day to fetch clean water at a perennial water pond, we also do much work on stone crashing to get money for food, since our aunty cannot do much because of her healthy status,” they narrated.

Eneres further said her plea for help is to get artificial boots so that she will be able to walk.

“If I get the artificial boots I will be able get my life back to do normal chores and my niece will be able to resume back to school as the school fees is paid by the ZiMWANA organization, it is really a huge burden on them taking care of me as well as my husband he understand but the challenge we have is financial set back, as I am to keep up with medication and maintaining my diet as a diabetic patient,” she added.

Eneres now acknowledges her situation could have been avoided if only she knew the symptoms of diabetic.

Her story is a harrowing reality check to those who fail to understand how uncontrolled diabetes can cause wide ranging health complications ranging from loss of sight, damaged kidneys, heart problems and amputations.

Dr.Takudzwa Mutsvanga Founding Chief Executive Officer of Queen Mary Bio Tech Laboratory Medical Institute said diabetes is a condition in which the body’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin , resulting in increased levels of sugar in the blood. This lead to things like increased urination, weight loss, weakness, and a number of other symptoms and complications allied to chemical disparities within the body,” said Dr Mutsvanga.

He said people get to ignore the symptoms, because there will not be feeling any pain this is because of the diabetic neuropathy.

“Sign and symptoms are summarized as the 3 Ps, the Polyuria which causes frequent urination, Polydipsia, which causes is frequent thirst   and polyphagia which cause frequent hunger  and weight loss,

“Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve damage caused by diabetes that leads to numbness and sometimes pain and weakness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs this makes people to ignore and not being aware of the sign and symptoms,” he said.

“As the Diabetes Mellitus cannot be cured as a chronic illness, but it can be treated but addressing its underlying cause, there is need to maintain things like diet and monitor weight risk factors include family history of diabetic, obesity age, it is associated with sedentary lifestyle, refine foods, junk food. Those with diabetic risks must be reviewed by their health practitioners at least twice a year, the general populace we encourage them to get checked at least once a year as our diet and lifestyle become westernized,” he said.

Dr Mutsvanga went on to say Complications when one has diabetes, the body literally starves in the midst of plenty as it cannot the abundant glucose in the blood. High glucose damages every organ in the body resulting in blindness, amputations, heart conditions, kidney failure amongst other.

“High levels of amputations in Zimbabwe are as result of delays or late diagnosis, poor follow up by health care   system   and poor adherence to diet or medication,” said Dr Mutsvanga.

According to Zimbabwe diabetic association administrator Keith Vitrino he said 50% of people who are diabetic are not aware about the condition.

“People seek medical attention while they face healthy complications, this is because signs and symptoms are very mild to an extent that people ignore it,” said Vitrino.

ZDA argues society to do regular checkups on diabetic whether diagnosed or not and also maintain body mass index (BMI) and diet.

“We also urge the newly diagnosed to do at most six to eight checkups per day this helps them to know the quality and type of food they require to eat.

Zimbabwe Diabetic Association offers a walk free in regular checkups.

“We give glucometers for free all ages, but from age of twenty five they will get to buy strips for themselves and insulin is for free to all ages,” said Vitrino.

Young people are encouraged to get regular checkups as they tend to be attitude towards the condition as for the elderly.

“We have a programme we are currently doing as ZDA in aid of International Diabetic Federation called Life for a Child, where we are mobilizing young people to be optimistic about the condition,” he said.

In Eneres’s pursuit to fight diabetic she is being assisted by  Rumbidzai Judith Kamba the founder and executive director of ZiMWANA Worldwide a non-governmental organization  that support  the less  privileged   women ,  disadvantaged children , in education , Health , Shelter and Livelihoods projects in Caledonia.

“We seek to empower communities to be self-sufficient long after we cease to support them. Communities are helped to implement small, less costly projects using local resources they have access to. We are also  committed to the promotion of orphans, vulnerable, disadvantaged children and their care givers have access to social and economic opportunities in the following areas of Shelter, Health, Education, and Livelihoods projects (SHEL), ” said Miss Kamba .