Kirinyaga county government has rolled out interventions to help control the increase of lifestyle diseases in the county.
This is in the wake of a report that ranked the county as having the highest prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
Governor Anne Waiguru says reports that the area has the highest number of people suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney ailments are worrying and the trend should be controlled.
The governor says that the interventions include; health education, roll out of medical checks and clinics for the diseases in all medical facilities across the county and encouraging fish, and poultry farming.
Through health education, residents are being encouraged to reduce the major modifiable risk factors such as unhealthy diets, tobacco use, and harmful use of alcohol and to increase physical activities.
“One of the causes in rise of the lifestyle diseases in our area is because we are taking a lot of starch. We are encouraging our people to change diet by reducing consumption of red meat, foods with lots of cholesterol and engage in more body exercises like walking,” she said.
She says increase in cases of the lifestyle diseases has also seen demand for medicine to treat diabetes, hypertension and kidney ailments rise to unprecedented levels.
Waiguru said that her administration, through the Wezesha Kirinyaga economic empowerment program, is encouraging consumption of white meat by funding more farmers to get into fish and poultry farming.
“The county government is supporting fish farmers to increase production as a way of creating alternative livelihoods and improved nutritional status in the county,” she added.
The governor pointed out that development of walk-ways at Kerugoya town and carbro-paving of towns like Kutus, Kagio, Kianyaga will encourage people to walk for long distance so as to burn cholesterol.
The County Director of Public Health and Sanitation Dr. George Karoki, said that daily clinics for the diseases have been rolled out at Kianyaga, Kimbimbi, Mwea and Sagana hospitals in addition to Kerugoya County Referral Hospital where they have been ongoing.
“Only level four and five hospitals were handling the diseases but now health centres and dispensaries have been roped in. We are doing check-ups for all patients visiting our facilities before they get to see the doctor. Clinics for those who already have the diseases have started across the county,” he said.
Statistics from the health department indicate that cases of diabetes have been on a steady rise in Kirinyaga since 2016 with the number of those suffering from the disease hitting 7,943 last year. In 2016, the county recorded 2,345, 2,285 in year 2017, 2,811 cases being reported in 2018 and 5,257 in 2019.
Cases of hypertension rose to 22,973 last year up from 17,079 in 2019. Some 11,712 cases were recorded in 2018 while 7,482 were reported in 2017. Year 2016 had 9,276 cases of the non-communicable disease among the residents.