Most people in Gunjur are Diabetic or Hypertension Patients - Mamadi Badjie
Monday, 13 July | Yero S. Bah
Quality primary health care can have everlasting impact on the overall health system of the Gambia, a country where the health infrastructure is fragile and local communities are always vulnerable to all kinds of diseases especially asymptomatic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.
According to the deputy chairperson of the Gunjur Youth for Health, Mamadi Badjie, the association which was established to raise health awareness through community outreaches in Gunjur, there are a lot of people within the town who are carrying illnesses like hypertension or diabetes and that the scary part of it is that they don’t even know it. They don’t know that they are carriers of these silent killers as he puts it.
“Most people in Gunjur suffering from diabetes or hypertensiondo not know that they are victims of these silent diseases.”
Mr Badjie explained that, the health association comprises of youth in his native Gunjur who are passionate about health matters, saying most of the members are either registered nurses or health students studying different fields in health related courses.
Mr Badjie noted that, the idea of creating such an association was conceived three years ago following a health screening that was conducted by one UK national and philanthropist at the fringes of the Gunjur project, a health screening that revealed that most natives of Gunjur especially the elderly were having the above underlying health complications such as diabetes and hypertension.
“This prompted us as young health personnels in Gunjur to react in order to assess the health situation in our village and community.”
He added that, the Gunjur Youth for Health has conducted several sensitizations on illnesses like diabetes and hypertension as well as carried out numerous tests on the above diseases in Gunjur and the surrounding areas saying they always liaise with the Gunjur project to sponsor patients of the above mentioned complications to access medical attention in clinics or hospitals.
“We sometimes link people from here to the polyclinic in Banjul for further medical attention whilst Gunjur project would pay their bills.”
The deputy chairperson noted that, their first community sensitization and testing was done in Kaa-Jabang neighborhood in Gunjur and since then they have expanded to all the communities in the village adding that they only conduct high-blood-checkups and blood sugar levels for natives as well as prepare referrals for people who need urgent attention to health facilities since they don’t prescribed medication for the patients as an association.
He said that, people in Gunjur are welcoming the initiative and through that they have been able to trace out many people with diabetic and hypertension conditions adding that they are also sensitizing the community on the coronavirus since it possess greater threat to the fragile health system of the Gambia and local communities.
“Primary hypertension and diabetes are mostly caused by our eating lifestyles but also other issues sometimes.”
The registered health nurse posted at Gunjur and Kaa-Jabang health facilities said diabetes type 1 is caused by lack of insulin in the body as a result of the total failure of the pancreas noting that these diseases are sometimes called the “silent killer diseases” since they are mostly asymptomatic in most patients.
Badjie laments that, most Gambians dispute the existence of the coronavirus especially in the community of Gunjur and satellite villages in Kombo South saying things are scary knowing the number of people living with underlining health complications such as hypertension and diabetic conditions in the country linking it to the threats of the coronavirus.
He explained that, at the moment the association halted its community sensitizations on the “silent killer diseases” due to the coronavirus since they could not have strips to conduct their usual tests on people living with diabetes or hypertension saying it is necessary to have them again to continue their health campaigns noting that all the coronavirus related deaths in the Gambia have underlining health complications like diabetes or hypertension.
“This adds the urgency for Gambians to believe in the pandemic since most of us here are living with such conditions” he concluded.