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WHO Highlights Growing Risk of Diabetes to Cambodia and the World

PHNOM PENH: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that nearly 60,000 Cambodians die each year from diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and accounted for 64% of all deaths in 2018.

The WHO teamed up with the Ministry of Health to recognize World Diabetes Day under the theme “Access to Diabetes Care” on November 20. Minister of Health Chheang Ra emphasized that diabetes in Cambodia is a chronic disease that presents a major health challenge for individuals, families and the health system.

In Cambodia, diabetes has a mortality rate of 2% and a prevalence rate of 9.6%, according to the 2016 Non-Communicable Disease Risk Survey in Cambodia.

According to the WHO, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths in 2019 and 48% of all deaths due to diabetes occurred before the age of 70 years.

The Minister said that diabetes is caused by unhealthy eating habits and a lack of regular exercise. He noted that diabetes can lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and paralysis.

"Diabetes requires lifelong treatment, but it can be prevented by changing eating habits, and eating a healthy diet (reducing sugary and salty foods and excessive calories)," he said. “In addition to exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing harmful alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.”

The Minister advised all health officials and development partners to encourage diabetics to share their life experiences with the general public for disease prevention, improved diagnoses and health management.

The Minister of Health advised people who are at risk or have a family history of diabetes to get tested for diabetes at the nearest health center or hospital.

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