As a type 1 diabetic, first diagnosed only days away from slipping into a hyperglycaemic coma, diabetes education is close to Bridget McNulty’s heart. Biénne Huisman chatted to McNulty about living with the condition, starting South Africa’s largest online diabetes community, and what can be done to improve diabetes education in South Africa.
Diabetes rates in South Africa are anticipated to keep rising in the coming years as the country’s health burden slowly shifts away from infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis toward non-communicable diseases. The relevant government strategy sets three key diabetes targets. Elri Voigt spoke to several local experts about these targets and South Africa’s prospects of meeting them.
Though the numbers are relatively uncertain, it is estimated that between four and five million people in South Africa are living with diabetes. One reason for the uncertainty is a lack of testing. A lack of testing also means that many people get diagnosed too late in the course of the disease. Elri Voigt asks what we do and do not know about diabetes in the country and what should be done about it.
Roughly 42% of people with diabetes who tested positive for COVID-19 and had to be admitted to hospital in the Western Cape had died as of 16 July. Elri Voigt asked experts why people with diabetes who are hospitalised with COVID-19 have such poor prognoses.