News / Health

Mobile Phone App Helps Diabetics During Ramadan in Senegal

Muslims pray before iftar, or the breaking of fast meal, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque, July 1, 2014.
Muslims pray before iftar, or the breaking of fast meal, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque, July 1, 2014.
Jennifer Lazuta

Senegal has become the first Francophone country to pilot a mobile phone platform, called mRamadan, which helps people with diabetes safely manage their health while fasting.  Diabetics who are testing the new app say it has been quite helpful.

Diabetics in Senegal can now receive -- for the first time -- free, daily text messages with recommendations for fasting before, during and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“mRamadan,” is part of the Be He@lthy Be Mobile program, a joint initiative by the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunication Union that aims to help countries fight non-communicable diseases.

The goal of mRamadan is to help diabetic patients in Senegal safely manage their illness and reduce the number of emergency hospitalizations that normally peak during Ramadan.

Marie Gadio, 26, who was diagnosed with diabetes at age 13, said living with diabetes during Ramadan is not easy.

“It is sometimes difficult because here in Senegal the majority of people are Muslims and because of that no one is eating during the day,” she said. “Certain diabetics just fast as they want, without knowing anything, but now our technology is developing and people can take advice from this program.”

While Islam exempts anyone too young, old, pregnant, or not in good health from fasting, many diabetics say they do try to abstain from food and drink during Ramadan.  They also sometimes stop taking insulin injections, which are needed to regulate blood glucose levels.

Dr. Maimouna Ndour Mbaye, a professor of internal medicine and diabetology who works at the Marc Sankale National Diabetes Center in Dakar, said diabetics can face a number of complications while fasting.

“The first risk is hypoglycemia, which can be very harmful to the brain, in particular," she said. "There is also a risk of hyperglycemia, because when they fast, their diabetes is less controlled.  They cannot take their medication on a regular basis as they do on a normal day.  And this is a risk…and exposes [patients] to complications.”

Mbaye said diabetics are also at an increased risk of dehydration.  People with diabetes who have existing conditions, such as chronic kidney problems, are usually not advised to fast, as such conditions can worsen.

She said that all diabetics should consult with their physicians before deciding if it is safe not to eat.

Ndiaga Diop, 26, who was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes when he was eight years old, said mRamadan is proving to be a useful tool for people with diabetes in Senegal.

“Before, we had many diabetics who didn’t know what to do during Ramadan, whether they should fast or not, but now with the program, it helps you know what to do while fasting," he said. "Each day we receive messages with advice about what to do or not do. So it’s a very good thing and really helps people.”

Some of the messages include reminding people to drink at least a liter of water each morning before beginning the fast, how to adjust the timing and dosage of diabetes medications, and not to eat too many sugary foods, such as dates, in the evening.

Once Ramadan is over, participants will continue to receive messages about the importance of checking in with a doctor to make sure their diabetes is still well-controlled, and to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. 

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More