Diabetes continues to be a major health concern in Guyana and the Ministry of Health is hoping that its messaging will encourage citizens to adopt healthier lifestyle choices.
Diabetes occurs when there is not enough insulin being produced by the body or is not being used well by the body.
Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony has revealed that 1 in 10 Guyanese is affected by the disease. There are more than 60,000 diabetic patients in the country.
Dr. Anthony said the number can be higher since many Guyanese do not undergo regular screening for diabetes.
He noted that diabetes is one of the leading causes of premature death and illness in Guyana.
According to the Minister of Health, while diabetes and its complications are largely preventable, prevention and management strategies are crucial to reduce morbidity and mortality and improving patient outcomes. He believes that early detection is essential for managing diabetes.
“Early detection and treatment are key, along with public policies and primary healthcare services that educate and support people to prevent them from developing diabetes and help those who have diabetes to manage it effectively. Additionally, the risk of developing diabetes can be minimized by: eating healthy foods that are low in fat and calories, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains; avoiding excessive use of alcohol; and exercising regularly”, Dr. Anthony said.
The Ministry of Health has indicated that it is collaborating with several international partners to ensure that every person living in Guyana is provided with the best diabetes care.
The partnerships will see improved testing, better treatment and care and the introduction of more tools to healthcare providers who care for diabetic patients.
Guyana joined the rest of the international community on Monday in observing World Diabetes Day. Minister Anthony said.action is needed now, as Guyana has committed to achieving the several of the targets of the World Health Organisations by 2030.