The Zimbabwe Diabetes Association is calling on the government to consider offering free medication and treatment to people with diabetes, saying they are equally as vulnerable as those with tuberculosis or HIV who get free drugs from public health care facilities.

Diabetic patients from Makonde convened for an information sharing meeting at Chinhoyi Hospital and agreed to lobby the government to fund treatment for the chronic ailment.

Patients say treatment for the condition is expensive at about US$50 per month for drugs, while the cost is much higher for those who use injections and drugs at the same time.

Zimbabwe Diabetes Association administrator and national board member, Mr Simon Jamanda told his peers that engagement efforts with the Ministry of Health and Child Care will be stepped up as a matter of urgency.

Chairman of the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association Makonde Chapter, Mr Mike Kapondoro said health institutions should also have staff and units dedicated to serving diabetic patients, rather than have the patients go through the outpatient department before they get services.

A 2005 Zimbabwe Diabetes Association census revealed that 10 percent of Zimbabweans were diabetic.