During the recent celebration of World Diabetes Day, global healthcare company Novo Nordisk Philippines together with the Lions Clubs of the Philippines, Quezon City local government, American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, Institute for the Study of Diabetes Foundation Inc., Diabetes Philippines, Institute of Reproductive Health, and communities in Metro Manila gathered to show support for the cause of promoting diabetes prevention, control, and management on 14th November 2019.
Cihan Serdar Kizilcik, vice president and general manager for Novo Nordisk Philippines announced during his speech at the event. “We believe that half of the people who live with diabetes are not aware they have diabetes, and of the half who know they have diabetes, only half get treatments,”
Generoso Del Rosario, district governor of the Lions Clubs of the Philippines said. “More than 400 million people in the world have diabetes. In the Philippines, the numbers are increasing. It’s important that we recognize diabetes so that it can be prevented. We’re not just trying to set a world record of thousands of people opening blue umbrellas at the same time,” “We are forming this blue circle because we want to send a message that we are concerned about our communities. We are concerned about the health of every Filipino.”
Dr. Jeremy Robles, president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism said.“Pre-diabetes occurs mainly in the younger population and those at risk. These are the ones who have family members who are already diabetic, those who are overweight and obese, those who have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and people who are sedentary and don’t exercise.”
Dr. Marcelino Lim of the Institute for Studies in Diabetes Foundation Inc. also added, “When I talk of diabetes prevention, it’s very basic. Eat healthy, be more active, and maintain ideal weight. It’s never too late to start on this regimen to prevent the onset of diabetes.”
Dr. Theresa Faller, president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology-Philippines Chapter cautioned the youth, especially those in their mid-twenties to early thirties, to be more mindful of their lifestyle, because doctors are seeing more people in this age group having diabetes. “We get 28-year-olds and patients who are a little below 35 years old who get heart attacks and stroke, and a primary factor is because of diabetes and a very bad lifestyle.”
Dr. Grace Ko Delos Santos, president of Diabetes Philippines said “It’s difficult to care for a diabetic patient if the family is not involved. The whole family should be eating the same food as the diabetic patient. A diabetic’s diet is not complicated. There are just some things we prohibit such as sugar, honey, and salty food. But it’s simply a nutritious diet, which can prevent so many illnesses.”
Johanah Co, a patient who has been living with type 1 diabetes for 18 years, shared how she faced several challenges that were detrimental to her health and the emotional burdens diabetes has caused her, during the press conference.
“We are advocates because we have embraced and owned up to our diabetes. We also have seen those who struggled because they cannot afford medication. From our government, we hope for insulin and test strips reimbursement just like in other countries with universal healthcare,” Ms. Co said
Medical organizations are doing their part in spreading information campaigns about diabetes, sending specialists to aid government hospitals, putting up diabetes clinics, and reaching out to far-flung communities according to Manilastandard.
Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto said “We are creating more educational programs that we can bring to the barangay level, we have monitoring of blood sugars in all medical missions we conduct. But we can’t do this alone. We have three million population in Quezon City, that’s why we really need all the help we can get.”
The Ambassador of Denmark to the Philippines Ambassador Grete Sillasen also graced the event and expressed her support for raising awareness of diabetes in the Philippines. She shared some of the milestones the city of Copenhagen has achieved in order to have healthier communities such as the construction of bike lanes to encourage people to exercise daily.
To mark this advocacy with the goal of winning against diabetes, a Guinness world record attempt was made at the Quezon City Memorial Circle where 3,347 people simultaneously opened blue umbrellas while in a circular formation.
The colour blue represents the flag of the United Nations which created the UN Resolution on Diabetes in 2006, while the circle is the symbol of World Diabetes Day that signifies positivity, unity, and strength against diabetes.