November 24, 2017
The Department of Health (DOH) together with partners from non-government organizations and the private sector urged the Filipino public to mount early preventive action against diabetes during the observance of World Diabetes Day (WDD) held last Thursday, November 23, with the theme, “Prevent Diabetes! Know Your Risk.”
The celebration of WDD was held at the Quezon Memorial Circle with an estimated 1000 participants from the government, nongovernment, and private sectors. Activities included a parade/walk around the circle, Zumba exercise, free screening for participants to know their risk of diabetes and the formation of a human blue circle which is the global symbol of diabetes awareness. A lay forum was also conducted to provide important information and educate participants on diabetes and its risk factors.
Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death among Filipinos based on the data from the 2013 Philippine Health Statistics, and over 6 million Filipinos are diagnosed to have diabetes, as declared by the Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation in 2016.
It is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia) because of inadequate production and/or action of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, end-stage kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy among others. Diabetic retinopathy accounted for about 5% of world blindness in 2002.
Screening for diabetes and educating the people on its signs, symptoms, ways to prevent and avoid complications play a great role in addressing this debilitating disease.
The DOH, as the country’s leading public health government agency, spearheads nationwide efforts in the prevention and control of diabetes and its complications. The DOH provides free diabetes risk screening at the barangay health stations, rural health units/health centers, public hospitals, and other government health facilities.
DOH also provides free medicines such as oral anti-diabetes medicines and insulin to Filipino patients diagnosed with diabetes. In its commitment to enhance health service delivery, DOH has also created a partnership with the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM) to empower and build capacity among our primary healthcare workers in managing diabetes. An estimate of more than 1,700 health care providers accross the country were already trained.
DOH, and its key partners from different sectors are committed to change the landscape of diabetes in the Philippines and ensure better quality of life for all Filipinos.
Philippine Society of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM) president Dr. Pete Dela Peña, an endocrinologist, confirms the importance of preventing diabetes and its complications. ”Diabetes ia a familial as well as a lifestyle disease. By exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding sugary drinks, we can prevent diabetes. For the 4 million Filipinos who are already affected by diabetes, it is important not just to do this but also to see their doctor regularly and ensure that they stay on medications to avoid complications such as kidney failure or diabetic foot.”
World Diabetes Day (WDD) is an annual global event for driving awareness on diabetes and its risk factors. This is officially observed in the Philippines through Proclamation No. 1942, s. 2009 declaring November 14 as World Diabetes Day Celebration.
”Diabetes keeps on increasing in prevalence, but we shouldn’t give up the fight against the disease. It may be chronic and incurable, but diabetes can be managed. We need to strengthen multi-stakeholder collaboration in increasing awareness of this disease and for people to follow a healthy lifestyle,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III emphasized.