The cost of diabetes treatment has risen to levels beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans, it has been learnt. This has resulted in people living with the disease to call on Government to intervene. Insulin injection costs an average of $20 for a week’s supply, while some patients also buy glucometres (machine for testing blood sugar levels) which cost between $20 and $45.
On average, a diabetes patient spends at least $80 on management of the condition.
Zimbabwe Diabetes Association president Mr John Mangwiro said the high cost of diabetes care had impacted negatively on effective management of the diabetes as many patients ended up defaulting on treatment.
Mr Mangwiro said these patients only showed up with complications at hospitals.
“Often people particularly those in rural areas stop taking their treatment for management of the condition because of the high cost resulting in high rates of defaulting,” he said.
Mr Mangwiro appealed to Government to enact a Statutory Instrument that makes diagnosis and treatment of diabetics at State hospitals free.
In other countries, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is free, but in Zimbabwe only diagnosis is free in public health institutions but treatments are sold to patients.
He said the access to diabetes treatment and care was even difficult in rural areas where the majority of people survived from farming hence the need to heavily subsidise diagnosis and treatment.
“We want Government to help us access the machinery to screen for diabetics, affordable drugs and maybe have an Act (of Parliament) that can say diabetics have their medicine free as well,” Mr Mangwiro said.