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The Pacific Community promotes World Diabetes Day on 14 Nov.

The Pacific Community (SPC) is engaging in the World Diabetes Day 2018, whose theme is “The Family and Diabetes”. This year’s topic aims at raising awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected and to promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.

The Pacific is one of the regions with the highest rates of diabetes; many Pacific Island countries are among the global top 10 in terms of diabetes prevalence. SPC runs a variety of outreach and communication initiatives aimed at raising awareness on the issue and how it connects with healthy lifestyles.

Worldwide, over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes with another over 200 million undiagnosed. For the Western Pacific Region, 158.8 million people currently live with diabetes with 85.9 million undiagnosed; numbers are on the rise. For example, American Samoa with a prevalence of 47.3% and 35.4% and 38.4% for the Federated States of Micronesia and Niue, respectively. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes which is largely preventable through regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet and the promotion of healthy living environments.

While early diagnosis and optimal management of diabetes involves access to affordable diabetes medicines, regular monitoring and treatment, practicing healthy lifestyle and ongoing education remain critical components of diabetes prevention and management as well as strengthening all efforts, after all ‘diabetes is everybody’s business’. SPC is committed to support Pacific Islands Countries and Territories to strengthen their capacity to prevent and reduce the impact of diabetes on the Pacific families. “In addressing the ever increasing burden of diabetes in our region, ensuring all stakeholders and partners are mobilized to collaborate, cooperate and work together, in tackling the diabetes prevention and care, is paramount”, said Dr Paula Vivili, Director of SPC’s Public Health Division.

In recognition of world diabetes day 2018, SPC is supporting Pacific Island Countries and Territories by:

• Purchasing t-shirts for diabetes awareness campaign with families and children in Wallis
• Providing supplies of NCD risk factor screening kits and health promotion resources to support diabetes awareness campaigns and early detection
• Upskilling on diabetes foot care and diabetes education for nurses from Tokelau, Kiribati, Niue and Cook Islands, through a training organised by Diabetes Fiji and Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Suva, Fiji
• Providing technical and financial assistance to the Tonga Diabetes Association with their Inaugural Diabetes Symposium, 12 – 14 November, to mark World Diabetes Day 2018
• Supporting Pacific country representatives to attend international conference and workshop to participate and learn evidence-based best practice for the prevention and control of diabetes
• Mobilising key stakeholders including Pacific diabetes associations and youth groups to improve engagement in raising awareness, prevention and care for diabetes.

SPC continues to provide technical assistance for Pacific Island countries and Territories to scale up diabetes prevention and control efforts, in line with international and regional commitment including Pacific NCD Roadmap recommendations endorsed by Pacific Leaders

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