Education sessions tackle diabetes

Equipping persons living with diabetes with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully manage their condition is the aim of the Public Health Department’s newly-launched programme ‘Take Control: Manage Your Diabetes’.

Pogramme participants and organisers


Take Control: Manage Your Diabetes programme participants and organisers. Photo: Submitted

And for participant Connie Whittaker, it was well worth his time, states a GIS press release.

‘People should be encouraged to come to these sessions,’ he said. ‘The instructors were excellent and made you feel comfortable. They explained how to live a relatively normal lifestyle while having diabetes.

‘All of the group members enjoyed this session and we have learned a lot. I encourage all who have diabetes, especially young people, to please come to the course.’

The first course, held last month, is one of the government-supported Public Health initiatives. It consists of five focus areas of diabetes mellitus and its management:

• awareness of diabetes conditions;

• diabetes treatment;

• how to avoid diabetes with healthy nutrition;

• how to prevent diabetes by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle; and

• how to recognise and deal with diabetes’ associated disorders.

Lectures, hands-on activities and demonstrations, physical exercises, and group discussions were integrated into the course. Facilitators included physicians, ophthalmologists, nurses, dieticians, pharmacists and physiotherapists.

For this inaugural course, there were 20 pre-registered participants for the sessions. Their knowledge of diabetes and practical skill level was tested at the beginning and end of the programme, in order to evaluate the programme’s outcomes.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services’ Chief Officer Diane Montoya highlighted the programme as a good example of health promotion and education.

‘Health education has to start early and continue a lifetime,’ she explained. ‘Being healthy is in all of our own hands.’

Public Health Director Dr. Kiran Kumar encouraged the public to talk about diabetes in order to increase awareness. ‘People could call talk shows and give feedback, so that the stigma of diabetes could be removed.’

In addition to this programme, Public Health has launched wellness programs for the staff of the Ministry of Health and Human Services; the Health Services Authority; and private businesses.

FYI

Take Control: Manage Your Diabetes will be repeated at frequent intervals, based on the demand, according to Public Health Department officials. For more information, call course coordinator Dr. Anna Matthews on 244-2858; Nurse Karen Clayton-Babb on 244-2724; or Nutritionist Bethany Smith on 244-2663.

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic or long-term disorder, which affects a significant number of persons across the globe. In the Caribbean region, the diabetes’ prevalence is projected to be 25 per cent of the adult population by 2010.

In addition to the economic costs of diabetes, its health consequences can be severe if the condition is not managed properly. Diabetes can seriously damage many of the body’s organs and organ systems, such as the eyes, kidneys, nervous system, heart and brain.

Therefore, it is very important that people living with diabetes, as well as their families, know the facts and have the practical skills to control diabetes, before it becomes a bigger problem.

It is well known that the complications of diabetes can be prevented by good control of the blood sugar. Proper management (lifestyle and medical) will prevent and /or delay the onset of complications.

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