November 14, 2007
Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), the Hon. Hensley Daniel called on Nevisians to pause and examine their lifestyles as they observed World Diabetes Day. Mr. Daniel made the call on Wednesday November 14, 2007, in an address to mark the occasion. He revealed that there were 500 known cases of diabetes on the island and said the Administration was working to reduce the incidence of the disease.
The Health Minister said the NIA had planned to work toward the establishment of a comprehensive diabetes registry and to sharpen the focus on physical education. It would also pay closer attention to the nutritional value of food, work toward more trained people in the preparation of healthy foods to continue efforts to make healthy choices easy choices and to strengthen prevention, promotion and research. “The complications arising from diabetes present real challenges to the health and well-being of the community. These include heart disease, glaucoma, kidney failure and amputations. When we attempt to assess the financial burden of care for the 500 known cases of diabetes, we have to take into consideration: cost of medication, the time lost from work, the impact on families, the cost of hospitalisation and regular medical care, the cost of prostheses for the amputees and death.
“When we assess the total coast of this disease, we recognise the need to double our efforts to reduce the incidence. The human and financial cost of this disease demands a strong response from all of us. That strong response calls for fundamental changes in lifestyle and diet. As we remember all those affected by diabetes, let us use the day to chart a new course with the promotion of health and wellness,” he said.
This year’s World Diabetes Day focused on the theme “Diabetes in Children and Adolescents”. Mr. Daniel addressed the issue of diabetes in children and he called on the community’s assistance.
“The goal for children with diabetes is to control and manage their condition as effectively as possible in order to reduce the risks of diabetes complications while maintaining physical and psychological growth and development. I therefore call on parents, families, teachers and the wider community to join hands and hearts to work toward preventing diabetes in children.
“I urge the restaurateurs, caterers and cooks to become more creative and prepare foods that are lower in Trans Fat and sugar, in order to help to reduce the incidence of diabetes,” he said.
He said the NIA had recognised that diabetes could lead to impoverished families and communities and had focused heavily on prevention through the promotion of diet, exercise and integrating health as part of a social well-being programme. He took the opportunity to applaud the Nevis Rotary Club for having secured the services of a podiatrist and chiropodist (doctors who specialise in foot-care) and a Diabetic Foot Programme initiative for Nevis.
Other local activities include a diabetes forum, education campaigns in schools, and a youth rally on Friday November 23rd. The annual observance seeks to raise awareness of the warning signs, promote healthy lifestyles and to encourage initiatives to reduce diabetes
World Diabetes Day is observed annually by millions internationally in over 195 countries. It serves to unite the global diabetes community to produce a powerful voice for diabetes awareness.