In commemoration of World Diabetes Day, the City of Joburg and Novo Nordisk staged a 3.1km walk with 350 diabetes patients in Soweto today.
The walk shows the City’s solidarity and commitment to fighting the scourge of diabetes. After the walk, residents got free screening for diabetes and other chronic conditions such as HIV, cholesterol, hypertension, prostate cancer and breast cancer at Maponya Mall.
Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are increasing at alarming rates in South Africa. According to Statistics South Africa, diabetes is the second leading cause of death in the country.
In 2016, diabetes was alarmingly ranked the leading cause of death amongst women in the country surpassing Tuberculosis and HIV/Aids. Sadly every eight seconds someone in South Africa dies from the disease.
The dramatic rise of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes is worrying as adult-onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes) is preventable 90% of the time. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels.
The myths surrounding diabetes might prove to be a challenge if left unaddressed, because type 2 diabetes not only affects older adults but is now increasingly seen in children, adolescents and young adults due to rising levels of obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet.
“The wave of diabetes is sweeping over the country like a tsunami,” this was the grave sentiment expressed by the MMC for Health and Social Development Dr Mpho Phalatse.
The City’s departments of Health and Social Development, in partnership with Novo Nordisk, are committed to creating public awareness and educating residents about diabetes.
As part of the City’s effort to create awareness around diabetes, the City’s council chambers were lit blue from Tuesday, 13 November, until Friday, 16 November. Blue is the international colour for diabetes.
MMC Phalatse urged Joburg residents to frequently go to one of the City’s 80 clinics to check their health. She also urges residents to live a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising and eating a balanced diet.