1st Annual Obesity Symposium
Due to the dramatically increasing needs for obesity prophylaxis and treatment in Kenya as well as the difficulties and high costs of accessing treatment overseas, the East African Bariatric Clinic (EABC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Kenya, will mark World Anti-Obesity Day for the first time in Kenya on 26th November 2014.

To lead to this important day we are organizing a week-long “Ideal Weight and Healthy Living Campaign” scheduled to run from 19th to 26th November 2014.

This campaign will help Kenya as a nation to:

  • Realize and accept overweight and obesity as a new epidemic that affects already more than half the urban Kenyan population;
  • Educate and inform Kenyans about the latest results of modern medical science, which classifies obesity as a serious condition that causes different chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, arthritis, infertility, heart disease (including cardiac arrest), impotence and stroke as well as many other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Obesity has been proven to be the most serious cause of NCDs.

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the current global mortality from NCDs remains unacceptably high and is increasing. The WHO revealed shocking news: “The number of NCD deaths has increased worldwide and in every region since 2000”, and “Our latest data show that 85% of premature deaths from NCDs occur in developing countries”. According to the International Diabetic Federation (IDF), obesity is also the major driver of the global diabetes pandemic.

 

Let us look at a few more facts:

The existing statistics in Kenya show that 55.3 % of the urban population suffers from obesity and overweight with hypertension (24 %), diabetes (12 %), and cancer (7 %). Ten years ago only 1 % of the Kenyan population suffered from diabetes; now more than 12 % of Kenyans are diabetic. It is easy to realize that the figures of obesity and diabetes are dramatically increasing in parallel. Although Kenya has many activities and major campaigns directed against diabetes and cardiac diseases or cancer (which are, in many cases, complications of obesity), obesity and the root causes of obesity have not been tackled.

2014 population-based household survey in Kibera conducted by Prof. Mark Joshi and his team show that 34% of females were obese or overweight with increased waist circumference, and this is an alarming sight of Visceral Obesity.

Already almost one fifth of all Kenyan children (20%) require serious attention and countermeasures to address their overweight and obesity problems – especially those attending private schools, where the figure has risen to an alarming one third.

If not addressed immediately, the health sector in Kenya will face in few years a public health burden which cannot and will not be financed by society or the insurance industry any longer.

 

We therefore need to raise awareness, and educate and mobilize individuals as well as organizations and institutions in order to spur action on the prevention and reduction of obesity in Kenya.

So far we have had no major activities and substantial campaigns targeting obesity in Kenya. To change this, EABC has now brought a team of specialists together to prepare this campaign, to raise the primary awareness in all strata of society about the obesity epidemic, and together with all stakeholders to mobilize communities and individuals to achieve and maintain healthy living in Kenya.

 

We also want to create more awareness about the availability of affordable medical help with modern bariatric methods involving non-surgical as well as surgical treatment in Kenya, and to assist many more Kenyans who are in a dire need of this treatment.

Given the difficulties of access to proper medical attention as well as to appropriate medical treatment, many Kenyan patients used to travel overseas to seek high-cost treatment for their obesity and obesity-related diseases; in Kenya, however, advanced bariatric procedures equal or even superior to the international standard are now readily available.

In response to the urgent need to raise awareness in the wider Kenyan population concerning the bariatric complex as well as the urgent obesity treatment needs and possibilities in Kenya, EABC is already successfully providing locally available and affordable help.

 

But first and foremost our actual aim is to carry out a continuous national educational and prophylactic program targeting obesity as the most severe cause of NCDs.