GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is very pleased with the awareness created surrounding World Health Day (WHD) 2016 to profile WHD on April 7th.
WHD international theme was Diabetes: Beat It! The local theme promoting awareness was “Be Aware, get Diabetes Care.”
Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Emil Lee, met with the WHD Organizing Committee, and thanked them for their professional organization of awareness activities.
“Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in our community. The good news is that it is also one of the most treatable diseases. Simple lifestyle changes can allow people with diabetes to live long, healthy, and productive lives. Please take the time to get informed,” Minister of Public Health Emil Lee said on Monday.
The number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. Factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO marked its annual World Health Day (7 April), which celebrates the Organization’s founding in 1948, by issuing a call for action on diabetes. In its first “Global report on diabetes”, WHO highlights the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease.
Measures needed according to the WHO include expanding health-promoting environments to reduce diabetes risk factors, like physical inactivity and unhealthy diets, and strengthening national capacities to help people with diabetes receive the treatment and care they need to manage their conditions.
Statistics from the Census 2011 of the Department of Statistics show that Diabetes is the second most prevalent disease for residents of Sint Maarten. The age group hardest hit is generally the population in the age bracket of 50-54 year olds.
“If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain,” says Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”
Diabetes is a chronic, progressive non-communicable disease (NCD) characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar). It occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Diabetes is a largely preventable and treatable disease. For more information, contact CPS at 542-3003 or 542-2078 or the Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten via its Facebook Page or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister of Public Health Emil Lee (8th from left) holding a WHD poster in the presence of members of the organizing committee.