Approximately 422 million people (or 1 person in every 11) in the world are living with diabetes. That number has been rising every decade since 1980 when the number of diabetics was 108 million. Middle and low income countries are particularly affected by this global epidemic.
In the United States, diabetes affects 29.1 million people and is one of the leading causes of death. In 2012 alone, diabetes claimed the lives of 1.5 million people. And, while in the United States there are many more resources and outreach programs regarding diabetes, in other parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, diabetes is unknown. There were 935,800 cases of diabetes in Afghanistan in 2015 alone, and 19,698 people lost their lives last year because of diabetes.
A recent grant from the World Diabetes Foundation will fund a three-year public awareness campaign through AMOR’s Afshar Hospital in Afghanistan. The purpose of the grant funding is to increase diabetes awareness and health screenings throughout the country, so that early detection and intervention will prevent life altering complications and death.
Public media announcements and ads will run throughout Kabul to drive people to the health screenings. The health screenings include a series of questions for individuals to answer. The individual’s then move on to further evaluations, health education talks, nutritional information and how to prevent diabetes. If anyone shows signs of diabetes or serious health issues, he or she will be referred to Afshar Hospital. Those who are healthy will be given information about how to remain healthy and to prevent diabetes.
The goal of the outreach campaign is for families to gather the knowledge and skills to learn about a disease that with education, care and the right resources, can be treated and prevented. In a country where low literacy rates and lack of access to education negatively impacts families, this campaign will be essential in providing health resources.
We are building healthy communities and that begins with getting everyone in the community involved. On May 1st, about 505 people from the community showed up for the first health screening in Kabul. Through word of mouth, many members of the community came to learn more about diabetes and preventive care.
The public awareness campaign in Kabul will launch about 20 miles away from Afshar Hospital and the health screenings will be performed by Afshar’s doctors and nurses. In addition to health screenings, Afshar Hospital will hold health education courses for staff, nearby doctors, nurses and midwives.
The impact of diabetes is the same for those affected in any part of the world. Diabetes, can be prevented with the right resources. Our ultimate goal is to reach impoverished communities with lifesaving and life enriching healthcare and education. Join us and visit AMOR – Ways to Get Involved to learn more about how you can make an impact in global communities.
10 Facts about Diabetes: www.who.int/features/factfiles/diabetes/en/
World Health Organization: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/
CDC Diabetes www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/2014statisticsreport.html
International Diabetes Federation