By Abdihakim Mohamoud Mohamed
In March 2018, a friend of mine called me an unaccustomed time. He is sharing with me the grim news of his uncle’s death and wants me to participate in the obsequies. Together on the way, he told me that the death of his uncle is counting to a stroke resulted from the consequence of unknown diabetes.
It was the same week I encountered another friend in Hargeisa Group Hospital who is caring for his uncle admitted to the hospital for stroke. When I asked him back if his uncle has a known risk factor for the stroke, he retorted that his uncle was as fit as a fiddle before this condition but now the doctors said he is a diabetic. Within a week two patients died of complications of unknown diabetes!
It was the same year we have supposed to have our first duty in the medical rotation ward. In the new unfriendly hospital environment, our small ward containing less than 20 beds has large proportions of what they called Chronic Kidney Disease. One bed to another, five to six out of the fourteen patients present at that time. At the gate of the ward, when I asked a more senior student why does this happen? Striding away, not shocked by my frightening question, he simply responded maybe because of the chronic disease like diabetes and hypertension which are becoming common in our community.
Coming home with unanswerable questions spinning through the head, I hurled my handbag, suddenly open up my laptop, and visited the world web thirsty for more information on why diabetes becoming so prominent such small countries in which its people are manual workers mostly. I have had already basic knowledge of what diabetes is and how it affects the body in my basic medical courses, but what I want to know was the extent of the disease and its complications advent before recognizing whether it is a particular phenomenon inside the Somalis.
I opened three to four taps on the browser and went on straight to a WHO, World Medical Journal, PubMed, and WebMD. 2014 was WHO’s last diabetes update. Not needed, searched for more updated ones. Through the links, I found IDF, clicked, and came with a site that stills a close friend of mine whenever I needed updated information about diabetes.
212 million out of the 425 million diabetics are undiagnosed. Both heartwarming and heartrending! Heartwarming such that problem shared is a problem halved and heartrending such that many innocent patients are dying of diabetes. But the bitter news is that two-third of the diabetes are living in developing countries. It is unbearable pain that the countries dominated by infectious disease are now the major victims of non-communicable disease. A double burden, double burden which the health care of emerging countries cannot withstand.