Pacific nurses playing an integral role in diabetes management and prevention

Suva

Over the last months health care systems and practitioners have been firmly placed in the global spotlight. There is increasing recognition of health care workers dedication, passion & commitment towards improving people’s health and quality of life. But, while responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are front and centre, it is important not to lose sight of the other critical health care issues that the Pacific is facing.  

November 14th marks World Diabetes Day (WDD) and the theme for this year is Diabetes: Nurses Make the Difference.  It focuses on nurses and the critical role they play in making a difference in the prevention and management of diabetes.

The International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas 2019 reported the prevalence of diabetes in adults aged 20 – 79 years is higher for the Western Pacific region than it is worldwide.  In addition, the top 10 countries include 7 countries and territories from the Pacific with prevalence of around 30% in some countries. 

Sr Seilini Soakai is a diabetes nurse educator with many years of experience in diabetes care at the National Diabetes Centre at Vaiola Hospital in Tonga reflects on the role of the nurse in diabetes care is a holistic approach. “As a nurse taking care of people with diabetes, your role is not limited to providing clinical nursing care, but you are also the educator, the counsellor, the carer and a friend to your patients”

The Pacific Community (SPC) provides technical assistance to PICTs to improve health outcomes of people living with diabetes, through development of Pacific Healthy dietary guidelines for people living with diabetes to guide health professionals and provision of essential tools to facilitate care delivery. In addition, SPC also has diabetes resources such as posters, booklets and brochures are available.  

SPCs Public Health Division (PHD) marked the annual event with a wellness check conducted to SPC staff to raise awareness and to screen staff for diabetes risk factors accompanied by counselling on lifestyle modifications to those that were identified as ‘at risk’.

Dr Stuart Minchin, SPC’s Director General says: “This year’s World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to celebrate the tireless work of Pacific nurses who are helping our loved ones manage the daily challenges of living with diabetes. SPC recognizes the critical role nurses play in diabetes care and the pressing need to support, and strengthen the efforts of all health professionals across our region.”

Media contacts:
Evlyn Mani, Information and Communications Officer (PHD) | E: [email protected] 
Solene Bertrand, Non-Communicable Diseases Adviser (PHD) | E: [email protected] 
Elisiva Na'ati, Non-Communicable Diseases Adviser (PHD) | E: [email protected] 

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