S Africans to join thousands in Global Walk for Diabetes

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pretoria - South Africans will be among the tens of thousands expected to participate in the Global Diabetes Walk to help raise awareness for the diabetes pandemic.

The five or 10km walk or run event, which will take place on Saturday to celebrate World Diabetes Day, will kick-off in the morning at Mouillie Point Lighthouse in Cape Town.

Similar events will also take place in other centres in Africa, Asia, Europe, as well as North and South America, where organisers expect 100 000 plus global participants to take part on the day.

Themed, "Understand diabetes and take control", the Global Diabetes Walk celebrates and supports a UN resolution, passed in 2006, which recognises the global threat of the diabetes pandemic.

According to the World Diabetes Foundation, the walk aims to increase education on diabetes, prevention and encourages the world to unite and deal with the diabetes pandemic.

In South Africa, approximately one in five people over the age of 35 have type 2 diabetes and more than 50 percent of them are unaware they have it.

Diabetes South Africa (DSA) spokesperson Margot McCumisky stressed a need
to take action and start educating the public on diabetes and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, which is one of the corner stones for diabetes type 2 prevention and good diabetes management.

"We need to encourage all South Africans who have even one of the risk factors of diabetes to get tested annually, a simple finger prick test at your nearest pharmacy or healthcare practitioner will let you know if you are at risk," McCumisky said in a statement.

He added that by taking part in the Global Diabetes Walk, they will have the opportunity to raise awareness for the need for worldwide action.

The DSA is hosting Diabetes Specialist Hotline sponsored by Novo Nordisk, ahead of the walk, where top diabetes specialist doctors, nursing sisters and dieticians will be answering the publics call, offering free diabetes advice and information.

They can be contacted on 0860 372 4636.

International Marketing Director of Over the Counter (OTC) Pharma International, Maria Ascencao said the company believes that the initiative and all other efforts by DSA to encourage education and prevention were vital in helping stem the alarming growth of diabetes globally.