PhD thesis defense: W. Mwanri (Akwilina)

Published on
March 16, 2015
Photo W. Mwanri (Akwilina)
Thesis title: Gestational diabetes mellitus in Tanzania - public health perspectives
Date & time: 16-03-2015, 16:00 hrs
Supervisors: Prof. E.J.M. Feskens, Prof. J. Kinabo, Dr. K. Ramaiya

Full text thesis


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. In most cases GDM ends after pregnancy, but it increases the risk for future type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, to both the mother and the child. With the current prediction of increasing type 2 diabetes cases in Sub Saharan Africa, understanding the burden of GDM and its risk factors is important for better planning of preventive interventions. The prevalence of GDM (5.9%) and hypertension during pregnancy (HDP) (7.7%) was higher in urban compared to the rural areas in Tanzania, and higher than in studies 10-20 years ago. The association of overweight and obesity with both GDM and HDP provide an insight in the importance of weight reduction interventions to prevent intergenerational transmission of these chronic disorders. These findings call for proper utilization of available resources to introduce selective screening for GDM and preventive strategies at the antenatal care setting.


  1. Gestational diabetes is an important public health problem in Sub Saharan Africa and hence preventive actions should be put in place. (this thesis)
  2. In Tanzanian pregnant women anaemia is associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes. (this thesis)
  3. Focusing on nutrition interventions for the first 1000 days of life to improve future health and wellbeing of the child is not optimal; starting earlier is better. 
  4. There is no added value in integrating genetic investigations into studies on risk factors for non-communicable diseases.
  5. When addressing lifestyle as risk factors for non-communicable diseases, the stress of urban life should not be ignored.
  6. Targeting women alone in improving maternal and child health without male involvement contributes to increasing gender disparities in African societies.
  7. “Wimbo huja ngomani” (A song goes with a drum or dance, Swahili proverb)