Fiji to host regional youth diabetes forum
Young people from around the Pacific with diabetes will meet in Fiji in a bid to form a regional network of leaders who can help others suffering from the disease.
Young people from around the Pacific with diabetes are meeting in Fiji in a bid to form a regional network of leaders who can help others suffering from the disease.
Diabetes Fiji will host youths from Tuvalu, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Its project manager Viliame Qio says the first-of-its-kind event will train participants in how to lead diabetes associations and help others with the disease in their countries.
VILIAME QIO: We are trying to get a network formed in the region firstly to address the diabetes in young people and secondly to engage youth people with diabetes in more activities like conducting projects, awareness. And the second two days is the health camp. With the regional participant scheme we are also bringing in participants from all over Fiji, children with diabetes. They will be part of a health camp, they get to learn how to take control of their diabetes. They will be meeting up with paediatricians, food care, eye care, oral health. So at the end of four days our regional friends and our local participants will be able to gauge knowledge on how to take control of their diabetes and secondly become leaders in their own countries especially as diabetes is an epidemic in our region.
MARY BAINES: How many participants are there?
VQ: We have two from each country that are here for the leadership, six countries, plus our local participants - so 20 participants for leadership training. But for our health camp which is beginning on Friday we are expecting to have 100.
MB: So many of the countries where the youths are from don't have organisations that specifically deal with youths who have diabetes. So really the point of this is to get the participants to go back to their countries and help lead organisations?
VQ: Yes, yes, yes. We have our link with diabetes partners in various countries and also ministries of health in various countries we have selected to participate with us in this congress.
MB: Do you have statistics on how many young people are affected by diabetes across the region?
VQ: I would not probably give you the exact figure but we have more than 4000 plus young diabetics in the region.
MB: And as you said, that number is quite high - an epidemic.
VQ: Every year there is an increase in the number. Before we used to have only type one diabetes, but right now we have noted an increase in type two diabetes among young people.
MB: So this kind of congress bringing together young people with diabetes is a first for the Pacific I understand.
VQ: Yes, yes. We have support coming in from SPC, the minister of health here, various corporates, hotels, GMU and some individual persons who have delivered to the congress.
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