Feb 01, 2018 News
With an ultimate intent to educate newly-diagnosed diabetics about their condition, proper eating habits, use of medicine and how to guard against complications, the Guyana Diabetic Association [GDA] on Tuesday commenced a two-day lay training seminar.
At the event held at the Kitty, Georgetown Windjammer Hotel, the primary targets were non-medical individuals who, according to President of the GDA, Ms. Glynis Beaton, are being prepared to not only educate newly-diagnosed patients, but also to gain the capacity to sensitise the wider community about the disease.
Among the participants in attendance were a number of board members of the GDA and some of the commissioners from the recently established National Non Communicable Diseases Commission, members of the Young Leaders in Diabetes [the youth arm of the GDA], and representatives of the Ministry of Public Health’s Chronic Diseases Unit, who were also tasked with monitoring the teaching/learning process and offering input.
“Our goal at the end of the day is to explain to newly-diagnosed diabetics about the disease, including sharing with them the minimum knowledge about complications,” Beaton said of the training seminar.
As part of the training, participants were exposed to the basic information about diabetes so that they can gain a better understanding of the disease before proceeding to enlighten others. They were moreover engaged in a role play exercise which was designed to help them utilise their newly acquired knowledge in much the way they would when dealing with a newly diagnosed diabetic.
Since diet and exercise are both important aspects of a diabetic’s life, part of the training saw the participants being informed of meal planning and ways in which patients can be motivated to exercise.
Beaton said that with the knowledge gained, “I am expecting my [GDA] board members… at every board meeting, one of them will present information on diabetes, and that is how they will give back. The Young Leaders will do the same with their type ones [diabetics] and also through exhibitions and outreaches,” said Beaton of the participants.
The training represents an outcome of the International Diabetic Federation [IDF] conference held last year in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Among those who attended the conference was Beaton, who holds the position of IDF chairperson. She is in fact the first Guyanese to hold the prestigious post.
Coming out from that conference which focused a great deal on the importance of education in the fight against diabetes, Beaton told this publication that moves will be made to recruit even more persons to aid the process of educating the nation.
A move in this direction, Beaton said, will translate to the hosting of a two-day lay-educator training programme. The training, she said, is designed to ensure that persons be exposed to a simplified version of diabetes information, so that they can help take awareness to the public on a wider scale.
On the sidelines of the training programme, Beaton told this publication that an important approach to dealing with a newly-diagnosed patient is to offer counselling services.
“For newly diagnosed patients you must have some counselling, because remember this is a shock,” said Beaton, even as she continued to explain that “it isn’t only the patient who will need counselling, but also the patient’s family, too, who will have to work with them and be their support system.”
This is particularly important, Beaton said, since diabetes “is a hard disease to comprehend… it affects the entire body and while some of us may not know it, it is important to give that newly diagnosed patient some counselling to be able to cope, because now that you have it you have to be able to accept that you have to live with it.”
Diabetes is often referred to by medical practitioners as diabetes mellitus, which describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose [sugar], either because insulin production is inadequate or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.
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