University of Belize hosts First Diabetic Conference in Belmopan Print
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Thursday, 15 November 2012 00:00

Diabetes SymposiumFrom a major survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization between November 2005 and July 2006 and published in a work entitled ‘Survey of Diabetes, Hypertension and Chronic Disease Risk Factors,’ it was established that the evidence was mounting that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes was a major cause of concern for Belize. It is for this reason that Belize joined the rest of the World on Wednesday, November 14th to World Diabetes Day (WDD), and the University College of Belize came to the forefront to hold an event to recognize that diabetes education and prevention are integral components of that fight.

The Jaguar Auditorium at the Belmopan Campus of the University of Belize became the venue on Wednesday to the first diabetic conference. Second year student nurses, having completed some fourteen weeks of training on the subject matter, took to the podium to explain that there were three forms of diabetes, Type I, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes.

Sharon Fraser, Vice President of the Belize Diabetes Association was on hand to explain that diabetes was a disease in which the body does not convert sugar to energy properly. Good management, such as proper eating habits and regular exercise are good habits to take up, she proclaimed.

According to Fraser, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Mexico have the highest diabetes rates in the region, where some 13.1% of our population suffers from the condition, representing some forty five thousand persons between twenty to seventy nine years old. There has been a recent rise of Type Two diabetes due to life style changes, said Fraser.

Without the right amount of energy, continued Fraser, you will feel tired, weak and drowsy and there will be an increased tendency for thirst and urination. Diabetics had an increased susceptibility to heart attacks and stroke on the long-term, said the Vice-President. The burden of diabetes is affecting those in the lower social classes, who stick to noodles with the high salt contents and do not eat enough vegetables, in addition to leading sedentary lifestyles, she reported.

Ms. Sharon Fraser took the opportunity Wednesday to applaud the second year nurses at the University of Belize for empowering the community with the facts, to further better decision making. The students also took the time to form a ‘human blue circle’ on stage, to join the rest of humanity in observance of WDD.

To explain the complex nature of diabetes were the parents of nine- year-old Damion Matura, who is a juvenile diabetic. Marva Matura said that she had to quit working to take full care of her son; having to diligently monitor the sugar levels of her son’s blood throughout the day.

While a health care team can be of help for diabetics, they will have to follow a treatment program. Families will also have to become involved to better manage the disease say the experts. The Belize Diabetes Association attempts to fulfill the educational role and goes further to offering free monitors and strips to any child suffering from diabetes. The Belize Diabetes Association can be reached at 207-3333.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 14:54