Rallying call to combat diabetes

Koh gesturing during the virtual meeting.

A MONTH-LONG ‘Blue Circle November Campaign’ will be held until Nov 30 this year in response to growing concerns about escalating health threat posed by diabetes.

The campaign, held to mark World Diabetes Day 2020 on Nov 14, saw 20 participants taking part in a virtual launching ceremony via Zoom on Tuesday.

Organised by Penang Adventist Hospital (PAH) and Diabetes Malaysia Penang branch, the campaign features activities like photo and video making contests, virtual dance programme, Facebook live health talks and diabetes screenings.

Diabetes Malaysia Penang branch chairman Dr Dicky Ng Teik Kee said the prevalence of diabetics was projected to rise significantly in future.

Based on data in 2015, Penang had 220,000 diabetics and 15% of them did not know they had diabetes.

“It was found that 12.6% in every 10,000 people from the statistic are with prediabetes, which means they are on the path to getting diabetes.

“This is why awareness is important as we can help these people be aware of diabetes.

“Right now, the Covid-19 pandemic has really forced us to change our ways of campaigning and we are bringing our campaign to virtual platforms, all onto social media.

“This is where we can engage the young ones, in colleges and schools to join us and learn as we create this awareness on diabetes, ” he said in a speech via Zoom.

A screenshot of participants attending the virtual launching ceremony for ‘Blue Circle November Campaign’ via Zoom. A screenshot of participants attending the virtual launching ceremony for ‘Blue Circle November Campaign’ via Zoom.

Penang health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin, who was present, said it was vital to raise awareness on diabetes.

“According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019 by the Health Ministry, the prevalence rate of diabetes in adults has increased in Malaysia, from 13.4% in 2015 to 18.3% in 2019.

“Diabetes is not just a disease. It brings complications with it in the long run like heart diseases, kidney failure, gangrene and more.

“I have in the past visited people who had to get their limbs amputated due to diabetes.

“It is devastating for the patients and their families, especially if they have been working all the while or if they have children.

“I totally support this campaign, especially in getting the messages out to the public, ” she said.

During the virtual launching, Dr Ng also requested Dr Norlela and the state exco members to look into lighting up the Komtar building in blue for a few hours during the course of the campaign.

PAH chief executive officer Ronald Koh said in one of the Blue Circle November activities, the #BlueCircleNovember Photo Contest encourages participants to post photos of themselves with something blue and include the hashtag on their social media.

“We want to create awareness about diabetes, and we hope participants can help us by doing this.

“The campaign runs until the end of the month and by participating, everyone can earn a chance to enter a weekly lucky draw.

“There is a virtual zumba session as well where participants can join via the Zoom app, where they can participate within the comfort of their homes, ” he said in a speech during the launching via Zoom.

For more details on the activities along Blue Circle November, visit the PAH website at www.pah.com.my.

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