24th March 2016
A major event organized by the Ministry of Health and the Environment is slated to take place at King George V Grounds early next month and from all reports, plans are progressing smoothly.
The Diabetes Fiesta is slated for April 7th- World Health Day, and although health screening will be a major focus, the main highlight of the activity will be 'Care of the Diabetic Foot."
Focal Point and Non-Communicable Diseases Coordinator in the Ministry, Nurse Valerie Williams said major health bodies from across the globe have asked that Diabetes be the center of attention during this year's World Health Day celebrations.
"The focus this year will be on diabetes because globally there is a rapid increase in the number of persons who are developing the disease and the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations and the Pan American Health Organization have placed the emphasis this year on diabetes and so we in Antigua will be celebrating the occasion with a grand Diabetes Fiesta at King George V Grounds on April 7th," Williams said.
She added that all systems are falling into place for what is expected to be a first class health fair and points out that all aspects of diabetes will be looked at, but the main areas that will be covered are the effects of the disease on the limbs, especially the legs.
"Things are falling into place, we have secured the venue and we are now working with our partners to ensure that we have a great day. Although it will be all about diabetes in general, we are going to pay particular attention and focus a lot on diabetic foot care because we are having dozens of cases where people develop diabetic foot ulcers, leg amputations, amputations of the toes etc. and so our focus really will be on the foot and preventing those things from happening", she added.
When asked about her advice for the general population ahead of the event, Nurse Williams outlined a number of initiatives and steps that persons can take to help fight diabetes.
"Early screening is very important, early screening saves lives and so we are urging people to come out and be screened so that they can know their status because people who smoke, consume great portions of alcohol, or eat unhealthy diets and even individuals who are not physically active, have a great risk factor of developing diabetes and even obesity so it is important to know one's status" Nurse Williams stated.
She also highlighted a WHO projection which forecasts a twenty percent (20%) increase in diabetes universally by the year 2030.
However she promised to keep the awareness and educational campaigns at the forefront so that the population would be better able to monitor and control their situation and make wise, healthy choices.
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