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Under the Theme, “Diabetes; Nurses Make The Difference”
Every year on November 14, the Ministry of Health joins the rest of the world to commemorate World Diabetes Day and, this year, the theme is, “Diabetes; Nurses Make The Difference”.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, with the majority living in low- and middle-income countries, and some 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.
As the Minister of Health, I join with the entire team at the Ministry and the rest of the world to acknowledge persons living with diabetes here in Guyana and globally, and I also extend congratulations to our own nurses and other health care providers who manage and treat patients with this illness.
Indeed, you are the ones who give hope, confidence and inspiration to patients you care for, far beyond what the various types of medications can provide. While nurses provide a lot of practical support, they also provide a listening ear and emotional support when people are struggling with diabetes.
As subject Minister, I encourage you to continue the excellent work of caring for these patients, and I have great confidence that you would continue to do so tirelessly.
For those who have Type II diabetes, it is important to understand that making lifestyle changes can often help. Simple things such as maintaining a balanced diet, losing weight, undertaking regular physical exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and giving up smoking are all ways to reduce the risks.
On the other hand, while Type I diabetes cannot be prevented, persons with this type of the disease can take steps to prevent or delay the development of complications by keeping their blood glucose level at the target level.
Incidentally, this year’s World Diabetes Day falls during a global pandemic, which has already taken the lives of well over a million people.
Unfortunately, people with diabetes are paying a particularly high price as they are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death. Here in Guyana the experience has been the same and I extend condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones along the way, many of them with diabetes as a pre-existing condition.
The COVID-19 pandemic is testing all of us, but nurses are on the front line. They are working tirelessly in our hospitals and health centres and right across all circumstances in our ten administrative regions to keep our communities safe.
To those with diabetes, I urge you learn more about the disease and how it can impact your life and that of your family, but most importantly, how it can be prevented. Remember, by making healthy lifestyle choices, you are on your way to enjoying a healthier and happier life.
For people living with diabetes, always remember that our nurses are a crucial part of your healthcare team. They provide you with ongoing self-management support and education, and they also help to ensure you have the appropriate screening and treatment to prevent complications in the future.
In Guyana, the role of nurses in health care for persons living with diabetes has changed remarkably as a result of the increase in the care burden caused by the incidence of long-term diabetic patients.
As this pandemic continues to take a toll on us, I encourage all of you nurses to do all that you can to look after yourselves and your families, and continue to stay safe while delivering health care services to our people.
On behalf of the Ministry of Health and our Government, I therefore salute the team of more than 200 nurses who have specialised in advance care of diabetes, as well as diabetic wound care management.
You have all stepped forward to take on treating and caring for diabetic patients during these trying times, and you have certainly risen to every challenge put in front of you.
You are making a big difference and I thank you unreservedly.