We know what Diabetes is- Let’s curb it


We know what Diabetes is- Let’s curb it

The Pacific region continues to advocate for a holistic approach with its efforts to addressing diabetes, an increasing catastrophe in the region other than extreme weather events. 14th November every year, marks World Diabetes Day and this year the theme is family and diabetes.

The impact of diabetes is alarming as it places significant burden on families, workforces and ultimately a countries economy. Preventing diabetes requires taking a life-course approach with early intervention and throughout life, to ensure good nutrition, physical activity with supporting environments, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking cigarettes and alcohol intakes.

In the Western Pacific Region, 158.8 million people currently live with diabetes with 85.9 million undiagnosed. The Pacific has among the highest rates of diabetes and many are in the top 10 in the world. 

Our region is well aware of the catastrophic consequences diabetes has on people’s health and well-being and is committed to work in partnership with Diabetes Associations, Ministries of Health and other partners, to prevent and reduce the impact of diabetes on families in the Pacific.

The SPC Public Health Division has provided technical assistance and trainings on diabetes in various forms. This includes supporting countries like Papua New Guinea and Marshall Islands to attend diabetes foot care trainings conducted by Diabetes Fiji, the Tonga Diabetes Association was provided technical assistance with developing a National Diabetes Strategy, Diabetes Fiji was supported to attend diabetes conference in Japan as well as providing Tuvalu Diabetes Association technical assistance to strengthen governance to name a few.

With this year’s World Diabetes Day focusing on family, it is encouraged that parents make better and healthier food choices for their families. Understanding the symptoms of diabetes early on is important, as 1 in 2 adults with diabetes is undiagnosed (212 million) i.e. 1 in 2 people with diabetes do not know they have it!

SPC has been working with youths from around the region through its Wake up project to create more awareness and lobby for behaviour change. Youth are leaders for tomorrow hence the need for them to understand the severity of diabetes and its impacts.

This week, a team from SPC’s Public Health Division is in Tonga conducting a training with youths. These youths are in a workshop about NCD risk factors, prevention and how to use social media to create awareness and behavioural change.

In Tonga and around the region SPC Is helping to build the capacity of youth to be advocates of diabetes prevention, strengthen their ability to be advocates for positive change, and lead the coming generations towards a healthy future.

Public Health



Colin Tukuitonga

Director-General from 23 January 2014 to 22 January 2020