On World Diabetes Day, the Pacific Community (SPC) is calling on all Pacific Island countries and territories and the region’s development partners to maintain the momentum for urgent action to prevent and control diabetes.

Pacific Island people experience a high burden from diabetes’ complications, such as amputations, heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.

In addition to causing stress on individuals and families, this health problem – part of an NCDs crisis in the region – undermines Pacific sustainable development and results in significant negative economic and social impacts.

Coordinated by the World Diabetes Foundation, World Diabetes Day on 14 November recognises diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease that poses significant risks for individuals, families, communities and countries.

To support diabetes prevention and control efforts in the Pacific, SPC has created a “Healthy Shopping List” in collaboration with the Dieticians Association of French Polynesia where it will be trialled before being made available in other parts of the Pacific region.

The list aims to make healthy food choices easy choices, and includes recommended healthy menus, recipes and space for a shopping list.

SPC has today also launched a “Focus on NCDs in the Pacific” photographic competition, open to amateurs and professionals to help raise awareness of diabetes prevention and control through stunning images.

Entries in four thematic categories are due by the closing date of 15 January 2017.  See the photographic competition entry terms and conditions for details.

“Eyes on Diabetes” is the theme for World Diabetes Day 2016, promoting the importance of screening for type 2 diabetes to ensure early diagnosis and treatment to reduce the risk of complications such as blindness.

SPC has released a Beat Diabetes Information Sheet with key information about diabetes.

These new resources complement existing SPC tools including:

  • Diabetes is Everybody’s Business, a training tool for community health workers, which highlights the importance of diabetes prevention and early diagnosis.
  • Latest version of Pacific Nutrition Bingo, a fun educational tool to promote healthy eating and combat the serious threat of NCDs in the region.
  • Pasifika Plates, a cookbook promoting healthy and delicious local food from around the Pacific.

SPC, in collaboration with partner agencies, provides technical support to Pacific Island health ministries to strengthen political leadership and multi-sectoral engagement on NCDs; support NCD policy and legislation, and build capacity to implement NCD activities and monitor progress.

Diabetes was in the spotlight at the Pacific NCD Summit held in Nukualofa, Tonga, in June 2016.

The high-level summit was attended by Pacific Leaders, Ministers and Senior Officials of Health along with representatives from the World Diabetes Foundation. SPC also supported Diabetes Associations from several Pacific Island countries to attend.

Leaders present at the Summit declared their commitment to ‘undertake urgent, targeted and integrated action to address diabetes’ in their countries.

Fast facts:
Globally, one person dies from diabetes every six seconds
Globally 1 in 2 adults with diabetes is undiagnosed while 1 in 11 adults has diabetes

Media contact:
Elisiva Na’ati, SPC Non-communicable Disease Adviser, [email protected] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or +679 337 9442
Lauren Robinson, SPC Media Relations Team Leader, [email protected]

Useful links:
World Diabetes Day 2016 website