Halt the Rise Beat Diabetes- World Health Day 2016
Diabetes affects 350 million people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization diabetes is also “more than just a health issue”. It has economic consequences, creating an economic burden on society due to the costs of treatment and decrease in productivity as a result of absenteeism or disability.
The World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimate that the diabetes population in Africa will double over the next 25 years. The main cause for this sharp increase is being attributed to increased urbanisation with sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected region. Urbanisation is associated with, the adoption of diets high in fat, sugar and salt as well as decreased regular physical activity and obesity. The complications of Type 2 Diabetes which include heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are expensive to treat but can largely be avoided through early detection, treatment adherence and lifestyle changes. Education and prevention are thus key in addressing diabetes and the private sector is in a good position to help.
What can the workplace do to help employees and their families?
- Share information on the causes, prevention and treatment of diabetes at the workplace.
- Provide opportunities for testing at the workplace for employees and their families through, for example wellness days.
- Provide follow-up support for those employees that have been diagnosed with diabetes or those considered at risk for diabetes.
- Help employees address the modifiable risk factors of diabetes through encouraging more active lifestyles and workplace nutrition programmes.
- Have in place workplace policies that protect the rights of employees and programmes in place that address discrimination and the gender differentiated health needs of all employees.
Addressing the modifiable risk factors of diabetes is also of benefit to those affected by other communicable and non-communicable diseases including HIV as preventative steps in relation to nutrition and lifestyle changes can assist in keeping the immune system healthy. Additionally there are some HIV medications that may increase the risk of diabetes underscoring the importance of prevention programmes.
World Health Day observed on 7 April each year celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. Each year a theme is chosen to raise awareness on a specific public health concern. For more information, access the World Health Day Resources here.
Read more about HIV and diabetes here