Prevalence of diabetes and co-morbidities in five rural and semi-urban Kenyan counties, 2010–2015

  • Gerald Gikonyo Githinji
  • Abubakar A. Hussein
  • Teresia Kimani
  • Benedict Mutuku
  • Jane Githuku
  • Zeinab Gura
  • Tura Galgalo
  • Mark Obonyo
  • James Ransom
Short Article


Globally, >80% of diabetes-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In 2014, the International Diabetes Federation ranked Kenya 31st in Africa in terms of diabetes with an estimated prevalence of 460 cases per 10,000 population. This study characterizes the prevalence and associated co-morbidities of diabetes in five rural and semi-urban counties in Kenya. We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional review of diabetes registry data in five selected rural and semi-urban hospitals between 2010 and 2015. Patients with clinical or laboratory diagnosis of diabetes were included in the study. Demographic and epidemiologic data were abstracted, entered into MS-Excel 2007, and descriptive and correlation statistics were calculated using Epi-Info 7. We identified 1548 cases (59% female) across the 5 sites, with a mean age of 58 ± 13.5 years. We calculated diabetes prevalence measures of 310, 30, 20, and 4 per 10,000 in Isiolo, Othaya, Mukurweini, Thika, and Meru, respectively. Type 2 diabetes comprised 98% of cases from Othaya and Mukurweini, 96% from both Isiolo and Meru counties, and 94% from Thika. The most common co-morbidity was hypertension, with 80% affected from Othaya and Mukurweini, 52% in Thika, and 34% in Isiolo County. The correlation between age, gender, and presence of a co-morbidity and diabetes varied across counties. Diabetes and its complications are prevalent in rural and semi-urban areas of Kenya and women seem to be more affected by the disease, indicating an increasing population who are at risk for type 2 diabetes and associated complications.


Diabetes Prevalence Rural Semi-urban Kenya 



The authors thank faculty members of the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program and staff at the individual hospitals who helped us retrieve patient files and other registries.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by the Field Epidemiology & Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), within the Ministry of Health, Nairobi, Kenya (G. Githinji, A. Hussein, T. Kimani, B. Mutuku, J. Githuku, Z. Roka, M. Obonyo), and by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (J. Ransom, T. Galgalo).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. Permission to collect and organize the secondary data was approved by the Medical Review Committee at each participating hospital.


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Copyright information

© Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Gikonyo Githinji
    • 1
  • Abubakar A. Hussein
    • 2
  • Teresia Kimani
    • 3
  • Benedict Mutuku
    • 4
  • Jane Githuku
    • 5
  • Zeinab Gura
    • 5
  • Tura Galgalo
    • 5
  • Mark Obonyo
    • 5
  • James Ransom
    • 6
  1. 1.National Public Health LaboratoryNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Kenya Field Epidemiology & Laboratory Training ProgramNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Lusigetti Sub County HospitalKiambuKenya
  4. 4.Meru County Health DepartmentMeruKenya
  5. 5.Field Epidemiology & Laboratory Training Program, Ministry of HealthNairobiKenya
  6. 6.Piret Partners ConsultingWashingtonUSA

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