Working together to give diabetes the boot

Godfrey Macapella, from Groote Schuur Hospitals human resource department, running the aerobics session with hospital staff on World Diabetes Day.

Groote Schuur Hospital held a diabetes awareness day, which included an aerobics workout, last Thursday, on World Diabetes Day, November 14.

The event was attended by the hospital staff, members of the Stormers rugby team and comedian Nik Rabinowitz, who was the MC. Professor Joel Dave, head of endocrinology at Groote Schuur Hospital, launched the new Diabetes Stewardship Programme (DSP), which, according to him, incorporates a multi-disciplinary team to ensure the hospital’s diabetes patients are managed in a cost-effective evidence-based way ensuring the best outcome for them.

“The DSP will also help in the training of all health-care personnel taking care of patients with diabetes in an in-patient and out-patient setting at the hospital but also in health-care facilities referring patients to Groote Schuur Hospital,” he said.

World Diabetes Day creates awareness about the chronic disease, which is caused when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, the hormone regulating blood sugar, or when the body can’t effectively use available insulin. According to the World Health Organisation, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to
422 million in 2014.

Sister Buyelwa Majikela-Dlangamandla and Sister Soko Luleka are part of the Meaningful Initiative to Mentor Individuals (MIMI) social group, a community outreach programme raising awareness about diabetes.

“We socialise with other diabetic educators to get more information about diabetes,” said Sister Luleka.

Seipati Thipana, 28, of Gugulethu, recalled how hard it had been for her as an 8-year-old when she found out she had diabetes.

“My hands were sweating, I was saying confusing things and I went into a coma and woke up three days in the hospital to find out that I am diabetic,” she said.

She is the founder of the Lebone Innovators Foundation, a non-profit that helps orphanages and vulnerable children in poor communities.

“We need more awareness days like these, especially to inform young people about diabetes because it is not only the middle age and elderly people that become diabetics,” she said.