The theme of World Diabetes Day 2016 is Eyes on Diabetes. The year’s activities and materials will focus on promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications.
Here are a selection of articles from across the Caribbean Region.
GET UP, STAND UP… HCC NCD Youth Champion Kystal Boyea Writes About Living with Diabetes as World Diabetes Day Approaches.
It’s the year 1973, and the Caribbean’s own Bob Marley chanted the following lyrics that echoed around the world:
Get up, Stand up, Stand up for your RIGHT! Don’t give up the fight!
Bob sang his tune, as a call to action against oppression, as he fought for what he believed in. At this time in history, the cost of living was lower than I could ever dream, labor-intensive jobs were the number one form of employment and in the world of healthcare, infectious diseases were on the forefront of every agenda.
Now, just 43 years later, so much has changed, yet those words known in every country and sang in every language remain the same. YOU MUST FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE!
20 years ago, my whole world changed when I was diagnosed with diabetes. 5 years ago, I decided to start making a difference in whatever way I could. It was at this point in my life that I learnt, that my reaction to a situation has the power to change the situation itself. I felt like I had been assigned this mountain, and I had to show the world that it can be moved.
This is my call for youth action with a focus on NCDs but more specifically, DIABETES!
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
Join the fight to end childhood obesity and strive for better access to medications.
Educate your community and speak for those who don’t have a voice.
Volunteer at your local Diabetes NGO and share your story with the world.
It’s World Diabetes Month, where the theme is “Eyes on Diabetes.” Lets put our FOCUS on our Caribbean island chain, and BE THE CHANGE we wish to see.
Read more about Krystal’s work on her website www.krystalboyea.com.
More from across the region related to World Diabetes Day:
- Youth Workshop Held at 3Ws During National Diabetes Awareness Month
- Free health screenings focus on diabetes
- Beating back diabetes – proposed tax on sugary drinks gaining support
- The not-so-sweet side sugar
- Eyes on diabetes
- Helping persons with diabetes
Eyes on Diabetes
Trudy Griffith, Interim First Vice President of the Diabetes Association of Barbados November 14 is observed as World Diabetes Day. According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2015 some 415 million people across the world were reported to be living with diabetes. It is having a devastating impact on the Caribbean, which has double the global rate of the disease.
Half of the people living with diabetes don’t know it.
The theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day is ‘Eyes on Diabetes’ which aims to encourage people to get tested.
Trudy Griffith, Interim First Vice President of the Diabetes Association of Barbados explains why this is so important.
“We recognise that we are dealing with an epidemic of diabetes, and if one in two people who are walking around with the condition is simply not aware of the fact, we have a real problem.
Firstly, it’s necessary to screen adults so that they know their status. Secondly, we want to screen for eye complications in diabetes which can cause blindness if not detected. So it’s a two-pronged approach.” Read more
Living with diabetes: “Education is the key”
Florence Bissett-Goddard has been living with diabetes for around 25 years. She is a volunteer at the Diabetes Association of Barbados.
When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, about six months after my last child was born, I didn’t have much of a reaction, it wasn’t a condition I was too aware of. Actually, I was in denial for number of years as I didn’t realise how serious it was.
It’s affected me a great deal as a result. For example, my kidneys are impaired and I’ve had a stroke. It has really been a challenge, but through the association and education I’ve learned a lot. I wasn’t doing anything to help myself before. I wasn’t taking my medication properly. My blood sugar was out of control. Read more.
Monday November 14, 2016 marked World Diabetes Day. The theme for this year is, “Eyes on Diabetes,” A play on words that hopes everyone will ‘keep an eye on diabetes’ – pay attention to it.
This push for everyone to keep an eye on diabetes is necessary as the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports that 1 in 2 adults are undiagnosed. Individuals who are at risk, persons who have symptoms but never got tested for diabetes make up that number.
The IDF states that this year’s activities will focus on,
promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications
At a church service held on Sunday November 13, Vice President of the Grenada Diabetes Association Dr. Antoine implored members of the Westerhall New Testament Church to take diabetes seriously, “There are a lot of complications that arise out of diabetes. It affects the eyes, the kidneys, the blood vessels, it affects the heart and some persons have amputations. And so, it is a very destructive disease and it kills a lot of people. So we want everyone’s eyes to be focused on it. Not only today and tomorrow, but throughout. Those who have not been focusing on it can start, especially those who are at risk.”
Dr. Alister Antoine’s remarks came as part of the St. David’s Branch of the Grenada Diabetes Association’s annual church service. This year, the Westerhall New Testament Church was selected for the commemoration of diabetes awareness month. Pastor of the church Jude Hector allowed Members of the St. David’s Branch to give a video presentation that outlined their efforts and distribute free diabetes materials to the congregation at its conclusion.
In response to the IDF’s mandate the St. David’s Branch of the Grenada Diabetes Association has partnered with the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) chapter of St. George’s University (SGU) to host a Free Diabetic Clinic on Saturday November 19, 2016. This event will be held at the Communal Co-operative Credit Union’s parking lot, located in Perdmontemps – St. David’s from 9 am to 1 pm. At the event the SNMA of SGU students will be conducting foot examinations, eye examinations, blood pressure screening and glucose testing.
To date, pharmacies such as Mitchell Health and Wellness Pharmacy, St. David’s Pharmacy and True Blue Pharmacy have donated free lancets and testing strips for the upcoming event. Other in-kind gifts have been provided by Gabriel’s Pharmacy with medical supplies; St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church have committed to tables and chairs for the event and Bryden and Minors provided free printing of the promotional materials. Many more in-kind donations are expected.
The St. David’s Branch of the Grenada Diabetes Association is looking forward to serving its community at the FREE Diabetic Clinic. Any resident of St. David over the age of 18 is permitted to attend. To know if you are at risk for diabetes, take a free online test – click here.
Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment in collaboration with the SVG Diabetes and Hypertension Association
According to the International Diabetes Federation, November 14th, 2016 was celebrated around the world as World Diabetes Day, under the theme”eyes on diabetes”.
To mark the day, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment in collaboration with the SVG Diabetes and Hypertension Association, held a “views on issues” call-in radio programme, on Sunday 13th November, 2016. The topic for discussion was “Eyes on Diabetes”. Then on Monday November 14th, 2016, a symposium was held at the conference room of the Fisheries Complex in Kingstown from 9am – 3 pm. Over 30 persons were present. Participants included diabetics, family members, health care providers and medical practitioners.
The aim of the symposium was to increase awareness about diabetes and the need for persons to ensure early diagnosis, so as to reduce complications such as blindness, lower-limbs amputations, heart disease and kidney failure just to name a few.
During the symposium an address was made by the NCD Co-ordinator in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Beverly Liverpool. Liverpool emphasized the point that too many persons in SVG are living with type 2 diabetes for a long period of time, without being aware of their condition, and by the time the condition is diagnosed, diabetes complications are already present. Other addresses came from President of the Diabetes and Hypertension Association, Rosita King. Dr. Twana Browne- Caesar, also presented the topic “ Diabetes and its complications”. A special presentation was made by Dr. Llamas, Ophthalmologist based at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
Activities was continued on Friday 18th November, 2016, where free screening of blood glucose levels was done.