‘Diabetes needs more awareness’

Health Watch, Normal

DIABETES is one of the major silent killers in PNG apart from other lifestyle diseases. The high number of cases detected raises a concern, however, not much is being done to address it.
Most people do not know much about diabetes and other lifestyle diseases.
This includes the signs and symptoms, preventive measures and treatments.
There is a need for advocacy about diabetes and other non-communicable diseases so that people can improve their lifestyle, especially unhealthy diets.
A team comprising of diabetes programme manager-HOPE Worldwide (PNG) Robert Pugu, diabetes health educator (Port Moresby General Hospital) Michael Gwalimu and Dr Lloyd Ipai – deputy chief physician internal medicine (POMGH) went to Montreal, Canada, to attend the 20th World Diabetes Conference last month.
 The trip was partly sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Dr Ipai went as an invited guest while his counterparts represented the Diabetes Association of PNG.
“The Diabetes Association is still part of the global village, and registered with IDF, which made our trip possible even without any support from the Government,” they said in a statement.
During the meeting, the team attended different lectures, workshops, symposiums and learnt new ideas about diabetes, association development and many more.
“We were able to market our country as an under-developed nation basically in the need to improve in diabetes and other lifestyle disease in the presentation made by Dr Ipai titled ‘Has IDF forgotten us?’
“One thing we learnt was that there’s a big difference in incidence rates between PNG and other developing countries.
“Their incidence rates are well-controlled compared to PNG.
“This is because they do a lot of advocacy work with full support from government, private sectors, business houses and associations.”
The Diabetes Association has not been active for the last three to five years, when it should have been in the frontline in the advocacy of diabetes.
The association needs an office to operate from in order to fully accomplish its objectives.
Starting next year, there will be new executives elected.
The members are now calling on all citizens to get registered with the association and fight for diabetes to make 2010 a different year because “health is every body’s business”.
For enquires, call the association president on telephone 323 5925 starting February 2010.