Chronic disease a silent disabler

2017-12-13 06:02
Thelma Thulo - Social Observer

Thelma Thulo - Social Observer

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It was a chronic disease awareness event on a Thursday morning, organised by the government and organisations in the health sector.

The guest speaker was to address the gathering that packed the hall. Refreshments were to be served afterwards.

The speaker came into the hall, accompanied by the organiser. He looked around and was surprised to see wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches, walking sticks and all sorts of mobility aids.

“Is this the chronic disease event?” he asked the organiser.

“Yes, it is,” the organiser replied.

“But there are disabled people in here,” he said, surprised.

“Yes, sir. They have different disabilities, caused by chronic diseases,” the organiser answered.

Although the speaker knew all about his topic in theory, the reality seeing the actual effectsThe speaker knew what he was talking about as he knew all about it in theory, but seeing it for realrattled him.

He remembered the words of Prof. Debbie Bradshaw, head of the Burden of Disease Research Unit, who wrote the following in a health magazine: “South Africa is in the throes of colliding epide­mics. Even before the HIV epidemic, we had non-communicable diseases. HIV, of course, worsened the situation. And now chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertensive heart diseases and renal disease are on the rise.”

The speaker abandoned his speech and opened the floor for those willing to share information about their diseases.

They stood up one by one, telling about their pain and suffering.

Ntate John had had his leg amputa­ted. He told people that he was not born disabled, but has diabetes.

“One minute I was able to go to church, but the next I had to use crutches,” he said. He added that one of the hardest parts of his sickness is that his family experiences him as being angry and grumpy.

Ntate Thosi told everyone about his inherited high blood pressure.Who better to tell you that his high blood pressure is inherited, other than

He was a teacher at a local school. Even though he knew he had high blood pressure, the information meant nothing to him until he had a stroke that crippled him.He is one of the one third, who has the script already written, how his body is going to change. But he admitted that the information meant nothing to him until he had a stroke which crippled him.

Ntate Loyd has diabetes that caused his blindness. He is dependent on chronic medication and is confined to a wheelchair. being kept at bay by chronic medication and using a wheelchair.

“We are dying like flies now and that isn’t good for the spiritual strength of the community. Maybe the fact that I am still alive shows that my ancestors protected me, I have been protected by my ancestors to be still alive” he said.

Mme Rasabo’s arthritis twisted her legs, forcing her to use a and she walks with a walking frame. She was a domestic worker until the disease halted her movements.

One by one they came forward until the speaker thanked them.

He was perturbed that there were two things missing from their testimonies: knowledge of the origin of their diseases and responsibility.

He knew from that event there was a lot to be done in creating awareness of chronic diseases, as disabilities from treatable chronic diseases should not be allowed to happen.

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