It is no shock the world needed to set aside a day to raise awareness about the chronic disease that is diabetes. Thanks to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), 14th November is the date.
This year, the World diabetes Day campaign focuses on promoting the role of nurses in the prevention and management of diabetes.
Theme: NURSES MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Did you know that in 2019:
- Approximately 463 million adults (20-79 years) were living with diabetes.
- It was estimated that by 2045 this will rise to 700 million.
- The number of people with type 2 diabetes was recorded to be increasing in most countries.
- Diabetes caused 4.2 million deaths.
- More than 1.1 million children and adolescents were living with Type 1 diabetes.
- More than 20 million live births(1 in 6 live births) were affected by diabetes during pregnancy.
(The diabetes facts and figures are provided by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Diabetes Atlas Ninth edition 2019.)
These are just some of the startling realities surrounding diabetes in the world we are living in.
True to its mission statement, the IDF continues to promote diabetes awareness, prevention and management.
At Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) we fully take up the crucial responsibility to raise awareness and conduct research with the aim of improving existing and creating lasting solutions to serve the world. As a research hub, we understand that education is vital in supporting healthcare professionals to fight diabetes and other diseases. Nurses are mostly the first point of interaction for patients. Since the quality of the initial assessment, care and treatment is vital in identifying and effectively managing diabetes, it makes health professionals, particularly nurses a key instrument in battling diabetes.
MUST offers a variety of market-relevant programmes through our 8 schools. The School of Nursing (SoN) is one of them.
Our Dean, School of Nursing, Dr. Naomi Mutea answers questions related to diabetes:
- What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease where the body is not able to use glucose/sugar resulting to high glucose or sugar levels in the blood and urine. This occurs because the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t use the insulin that it makes.
- Who is prone to getting diabetes?
Anybody can get diabetes but there are factors that increase the likelihood of getting this disease. These factors include obesity/ overweight, close family member (parent, sibling) with diabetes and increase in age, inactivity / sedentary lifestyle.
- Is it a genetic disease?
Yes, as one is more likely to have diabetes if someone else in the family mostly parent, brother or sister has it.
- What are the complications of diabetes?
It can lead to heart and blood vessel disease, damage nerves, slow healing of wounds, damage kidneys, skin problems, and eye and hearing problems.
Diabetes and Covid-19
- Does COVID-19 cause diabetes
We don’t yet have evidence as to whether COVID-19 would contribute to the onset of diabetes.
- Are people with diabetes more likely to get COVID-19?
There is not enough data to show whether people with diabetes are more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population. The problem people with diabetes face are they’re more likely to have worse complications if they get it, not greater chance of getting the virus. Also, the more health conditions someone has (for example, diabetes plus heart disease), adds to their risk of getting those serious complications from COVID-19.
- What measures should people living with diabetes take during this pandemic?
Continue with your medication and diet plan and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider. Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy. Do not delay getting emergency care for your underlying medical condition because of COVID-19.
- What can our students/staff do in preventing diabetes?
It’s important that we educate our patients/clients and the public to eat a healthy diet, exercise frequently, lose excess weight, stop smoking and have an annual medical screening for diabetes.
- What is the University’s role in fighting this chronic disease?
The University is working towards regular medical camps to educate the public and its staff, students and the surrounding community about diabetes and the strategies for its prevention and management.
- How does MUST train its Nursing students to effect positive change in the world? Also, specifically to diabetic patients?
MUST trains competent graduate nurses who have knowledge and hands on skills to provide care to all people in the hospitals and in the community, and they cover specific knowledge on diabetes management, prevention and control.
- What should one do if they notice symptoms?
If someone notices symptoms such as needing to urinate frequently, feeling thirsty, unexplained weight loss, slow healing wounds, frequent infections and blurred vision, then immediately seek medical attention at the hospital.
- Why is World Diabetes Day important?
This day is crucial as it provides a forum to provide health education to the community about diabetes control and prevention. Further, it’s a reminder for all of us to adopt healthy lifestyles so as to protect ourselves and loved ones from diabetes and other chronic diseases.
- How can we support a friend/relative/loved one dealing with diabetes?
Support a loved one with diabetes by ensuring that they adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes physical activity, quitting smoking, eating a balanced healthy diet and losing excess weight. In addition, remind them to measure their blood sugars and take their medications.
- Why should one choose to study at the MUST School of Nursing?
The school of Nursing provides quality and holistic nursing education, and ensures that our students acquire knowledge and competencies to become ethical professional nurses. The school produces competent graduate nurses who can provide clinical care, conduct research, teach and provide leadership and management to meet the needs in the health care sector in Kenya and world at large.
MUST School of Nursing: https://www.must.ac.ke/school-of-nursing/
This year, you have the opportunity to advance your skills and knowledge thanks to the IDF School of Diabetes. In honor of this year’s World Diabetes Day, the IDF School of Diabetes is offering an online course that will help nurses and other health professionals to effectively support people with diabetes, promote healthy lifestyles and help with diabetes management. This will aid in achieving optimal control of the condition.
Click on the link for more information on who is eligible and how to sign-up for the course: https://www.idfdiabeteschool.org/short-course/diabetes-educator
MUST is committed to nurturing holistically developed graduates ready to join and improve the global community. Today, we remind our nursing students to acknowledge and be inspired by the fact that they can make a positive difference in a world that is fighting a disease causing death and disability.
We welcome you to join the MUST family and the rest of the world to have conversations about diabetes. Ask. Share. Learn. Grow.
Meru University of Science and Technology provides quality education and training. Join us in our January 2021 Intake: https://www.must.ac.ke/schools-departments-and-programmes/