Monday, June 17, 2024

Diabetes -Zambian perspective


Pizza Hut workers unveiling the largest pizza ever made in Zambia
Pizza Hut workers unveiling the largest pizza ever made in Zambia

When the late FTJ introduced a liberalised economy in Zambia under donor influence,little did we know the impact it would have on our waist lines. I left Zambia for 7 years and the first thing I noticed as I walked down Cairo road one morning upon my return was how fat people had become in a very short time frame.

There are 4 times more people living with diabetes mellitus globally than there were 30 years ago.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 4.2% of Zambians have diabetes,that is approximately 700 000 people living with diabetes.The number is growing and is projected to worsen if current trends continue.

The growth of the middle class and mushrooming of malls with fast food establishments across the country has contributed to the nutritional transition of Zambians. People joke that “balelila” but should we really embrace the western lifestyle with caution thrown to the wind?

People in developed nations are now realising how bad and unhealthy their lifestyles are. Its the cause of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and some cancers(non communicable diseases)

This problem needs to be tackled by policy makers in curbing the infiltration of transnational companies that promote unhealthy foods( pipe dream but worth mentioning).Physical activity can be promoted at both a national and individual level.For example bringing back neighbourhood parks and walkways. Zambians would do well to stick to traditional nutrient rich foods than eat unhealthy fast foods.

Diabetes mellitus is very expensive to manage and prevention is better than cure. Happy Diabetes Day!

By A.Mulenga


  1. For us to have a clear perspective of diabetes in Zambia, we need a diabetes research based on facts obtained within the Zambian context. That single figure of 4.2 % you quote from international diabetes federation is not enough. Zambians must be encouraged to do their own reliable research and compare figures to determine, for example, the percentage and increase of diabetes cases over a period of time. Don’t give us opinions.

    • And who is going to fund the Zambian research? There is no money for home based research,most research needs funding from donors and they will only fund whats of interest to them

  2. The Patrick Mwanawasa led government made sure GMO’s didn’t find a way passed our borders..what ever happened since is a mystery.

  3. Department of health should push for research funding from government and maybe university students/ graduates could be encouraged to take part in such research activities. After all you have so many universities in Zambia now .

  4. It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, if you are suffering from type 2 diabetes (late onset, caused by obesity) you are risking your limbs (amputation is a common result) and your life. Eat healthily – you know it makes sense.

  5. Diabetes is a condition that puts you at risk of dying early if not properly managed.It is infact more difficult than living with HIV.And because poor nutrition and wanting to feed on fast is a result of diabetes which to

  6. I remember one mp saying he was more fat before joining politics.for him to be fat is unachivment . Happy diabeties day eat less sugar and fat

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