DAKAR — Helping diabetics to observe healthy Ramadan, Senegal has launched its first mobile application that assists Muslims to safely manage their illness during the holy fasting month.
“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,” Ndiaga Diop, 26, who was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes when he was eight years old, told Voice of America on Wednesday, July 2.
“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.”
Called mRamadan, the mobile phone platform, aims to help Muslim diabetics through sending “daily text messages with recommendations for fasting before, during and after the holy fasting month”.
Being a part of He@lthy Be Mobile program, mRamadan aims to reduce emergency cases at Senegalese hospitals that soar during Ramadan.
“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,” said Marie Gadio, 26, who was diagnosed with diabetes at age 13.
“Certain diabetics just fast as they want, without knowing anything, but now our technology is developing and people can take advice from this program.”
Muslim scholars confirm that if a Muslim diabetic need to insulin injection, then he belong to the category of people who are exempt from fasting, so he should not fast.
It is not at all considered an act of piety to fast while one is suffering from the type of diabetes that requires insulin injection during the day.
It should be a source of comfort for you to know that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah loves His servants to make use of His concessions even as He loves them to carry out His strict orders.”
Senegalese doctors have cautioned patients against the risks of the non-communicable diseases during Ramadan.
“The first risk is hypoglycemia, which can be very harmful to the brain, in particular,” said Dr. Maimouna Ndour Mbaye, a professor of internal medicine and diabetology who works at the Marc Sankale National Diabetes Center in Dakar.
“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.”
Co-sponsored by the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunication Union, the Ramadan app sends several messages on daily basis to the patients, giving them advises on how to cope with fasting.
Advices like drinking a liter of water at sohor, avoiding sugary food like dates and managing dosage of medicines are delivered via the SMS services of the mobile app.
Post Ramadan messages will include recommendations to visit doctors to keep healthy.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, falls this year between Sunday, June 29, and July 28.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Around the globe, Muslims observe Ramadan with a set of traditional rituals including family gathering at iftar, religious lessons, special evening prayer and helping the poor.
Muslims make up nearly 94 percent of the country's 13 million population, while Christians account for 5 percent and the remaining follows indigenous beliefs.
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