By David Ingham
The message about diabetes is getting out, but the challenge is to build on this in the years ahead.
If you haven't done so already, November 14 should be marked down as an important day in your calendar. The UN has now formally endorsed it as World Diabetes Day and the International Diabetes Federation has suggested a number of ways to mark the occasion and get the message out.
It suggests lighting up prominent landmarks in the colour of the World Diabetes Day logo (Pantone 279) and beaming the World Diabetes Day or Unite for Diabetes logo all over public buildings; pressing local authorities to issue proclamations in support of UN Resolution 61/225, which recognises the danger diabetes poses to mankind; and organising public health events and free patient screenings.
The good news is that GCC countries, where diabetes is a huge threat to public health, are doing their bit. Bahrain Diabetes Society plans a number of events in collaboration with academic and government bodies, including school health workshops, an exhibition at the College of Health Science, a diabetes awareness festival in South Governorate and a walk against diabetes in Muharraque Governorate on November 24.
In Doha, a mobile exhibition on public awareness and education, and a workshop about diabetes and its related complications will be held on November 10-16. Special focus will also be given to diabetes in children.
Abu Dhabi-based Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) rolled out a nationwide effort called Diabetes.Knowledge.Action some months ago. It includes a mobile screening booth where people can be tested for diabetes, a healthy lunchbox campaign targeted at school children and mothers, and a collaboration with celebrity chefs to produce a healthy recipe book and DVD to show. A sponsored walk is planned for November 23.
The message about diabetes is getting out and World Diabetes Day promises to help raise the region's knowledge of the problem still further. The challenge now is to build on this start in the months and years ahead.