Community Tech Boosts Diabetes Care in Kenya

The Mwanga Access Program, a collaborative effort involving the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya [NCD Alliance Kenya], ROCHE Diabetes Care, Medtronic LABS, and the Meru County government, has made significant strides in addressing diabetes in Kenya since its inception in November 2022. By screening over 18,000 individuals and training more than 200 in diabetes management, the program aims to extend its reach to 35,000 individuals by December 2024, emphasizing preventive measures and early interventions.

Given the high prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes in Kenya, standing at 4.0% and 15.1%, respectively, among adults aged 20-79, the program addresses a critical need. Additionally, an estimated 5,300 children and adolescents in Kenya live with type 1 diabetes. Pedro Goncalves, Head of Global Commercial Organisation at Roche Diabetes Care, underscores the importance of collaborative community partnerships in addressing healthcare challenges, expressing pride in the program’s focus on holistic care and community empowerment.

Mwanga Access Programme Partners Roche, NCDAK and Medtronics Labs at Timau Center, Meru County, Kenya.

Out of the individuals screened, 1,475 have been enrolled in the program, with 539 confirmed as diabetic. The program’s digital tracking system boasts a commendable 46.1% follow-up rate and a 51.9% glycemic control rate among diagnosed individuals, showcasing its effectiveness in ensuring ongoing patient engagement and improved health outcomes. The program also provides screening and monitoring equipment to health facilities, support groups, and community health workers.

Moreover, the program has implemented a sustainable model of community engagement, training 60 healthcare professionals and 106 community health promoters [CHPs] in comprehensive diabetes care and basic screening techniques. Additionally, advocacy training for 22 individuals living with diabetes and hypertension has led to increased awareness and budgetary allocation for non-communicable disease [NCD] prevention and control at the county level.

Catherine Karekezi, Executive Director of the NCD Alliance Kenya, praises the program’s innovative approach in addressing diabetes management gaps in Meru County, emphasizing the significance of early detection and accessible care. The program’s community-driven approach involves trained healthcare professionals and CHPs in patient screening, enrollment, and linkage to healthcare facilities, while support groups provide education and counseling.

Eric Angula, Head of Business Development and Partnerships Lead Africa at Medtronic LABS, highlights the program’s success as a result of collaborative dedication and digital integration, which facilitates patient enrollment and tracking, leading to improved health outcomes.

The Mwanga Access Program’s commitment to combating diabetes in Meru County showcases the potential of collaborative initiatives in enhancing public health outcomes, setting a precedent for future community empowerment endeavors.

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