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My Papa Surrounded By Family

My Papa, in dapper shades 🙂 surrounded by some of his love ones.

By Iya Bekondo-Granatella, Founder of the Iya Foundation Inc.

Its been over 10 years since I lost my Papa. Every so often I think about him and what our relationship would have been like as mature adults. When I face challenges with men, I miss him even more so as I yearn to seek his advise. What would Papa say? What would Papa think of this? I really do wish my Papa was still here to celebrate my milestones and achievements and also just to reassure me that all is indeed well. I am however consoled by the fact that I strive to perform my very best in all that I do, and believe that wherever he is, he’s smiling down on me with pride.

Papa transitioned while I was still in my early 20s. He’s passing as a result of complications from diabetes. Papa was just one of 422 million people worldwide who suffer from diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes of all types can lead to complications in many parts of the body and increase the overall risk of dying prematurely.
As a matter of fact, diabetes is the number one leading cause of kidney failure world wide. Sadly, the prevalence of diabetes has been steadily increasing for the past 3 decades according to the World Health Organization, mirroring an increase in the prevalence of obesity and overweight in people as well. This increase is particularly significant in low and middle income countries like Cameroon.
The rate of diabetes in men is much higher than that in women. In a 2014 data provided by, the rate of diabetes in men is 25.6 as opposed to 17.2 in women.
Heart disease and hypertension, the second leading cause of kidney failure, also happens to be prevalent in men than women, at a rate of 210.9 to 131.8 in women. Men are also at risk of suicide at a higher rate of 20.7 to 5.8 in women. In general, I regret to reference that, men have a significantly higher death rate for most of the leading causes of death.
The following are some of the reasons, according to Mens Health Network, why men are at higher risk:
  • A higher percentage of men have no healthcare coverage
  • Men make 1/2 as many physician visits for prevention
  • Men are employed in the most dangerous occupations such a mining, fire fighting, construction, and fishing
  • Society discourages healthy behavior in men and boys
  • Men have less healthy lifestyles including risk taking at younger ages
  • Research on male-specific diseases is underfunded
Although we lost Papa, the good news is there’s help. A large proportion of diabetes and its complications can be prevented by a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight, and avoiding tobacco use.
Encourage the men in your life to schedule a check up today. Men, do it for you, and those who count on you.
  1. Eat Healthy – eating a wide variety of foods can help get all the vitamins and minerals the body needs. Adding at least one fruit and vegetable to every meal.
  2. Get Moving – choose activities that you enjoy doing so you can stay motivated.
  3. Make Prevention a Priority – Many health conditions can be prevented or detected early with regular check ups from your health care provider. Easy detection saves lives. Regular screenings may include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, prostate health, and more.
Men Medical Tests Guideline

Checkup and Screening Guidelines for Men. Image Credit: Men’s Health Network

For more information on men’s health, visit the following websites: