Today (Saturday, November 14, 2020) is being observed internationally as Word Diabetes Day, under the theme “Nurses Make The Difference for Diabetes”.
The day’s recognition is part of a global campaign to focus attention on the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes in keeping with the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to promote health and well-being for all.
The Jamaican Government – through the Ministry of Health and Wellness – is ramping up resources for the prevention and management of the disease.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, informed that the Ministry will be working on increasing access to testing for diabetes, through the introduction of point-of-care testing. “This methodology of testing is the gold standard for monitoring and controlling diabetes,” the Minister said. He was speaking at a virtual panel discussion on November 6, 2020 to formally launch Diabetes Awareness Month. The Minister said that the Ministry had updated its clinical management guidelines, available on its website (www.moh.gov.jm) He noted, too, that the National Health Fund (NHF) will continue to provide support through the provision of diabetic medication and supplies, and encouraged persons with diabetes to enroll in the NHF card programme to access this benefit.
ROLE OF NURSES
Meanwhile – in keeping with this year’s focus on nurses – the Minister underscored their importance in the diabetic management cycle. “We encourage stakeholders – persons living with diabetes, their families and friends and others involved in their care management – to join our nurses in the effort to ensure the best possible health outcome for persons with diabetes and to, as far as possible, engage in behaviours to reduce the incidence of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” Dr. Tufton said. The 2020 focus on nurses is designed to highlight their crucial role in supporting people living with diabetes. The UN (www.un.org) has stated that nurses currently account for over half of the global health workforce, working to support people living with a wide range of health concern included the dread coronavirus which has claimed over one million people. People living with diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition also need their support, so, education is vital to equip nurses with the skills to provide necessary support. Dr Tufton also emphasized the importance of lifestyle behaviour in managing the risk of diabetes, and recommended increased physical activity, a healthy diet, routine health checks and strict adherence to medication.
DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH
November is designated as Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Minister thanked all the partners for working with the Ministry to raise awareness regarding early screening and control of diabetes in the country.
According to the Minister, awareness during the month of November will be raised through various planned activities, including community interventions in Troja District in St. Catherine and Pembroke Hall, St. Andrew; training of healthcare workers in the clinical management of diabetes; launching the public/private partnership for NCD care for diabetes and hypertension; as well as sharing health education messages through traditional and social media.
Contact Georgia Hemmings