As the world observes World Diabetes Day today, the Ministry of Health has announced that it will soon launch a programme to encourage corporate sponsorship of children living with diabetes.
The ‘Sponsor a Child Programme’ a press release from the Health Ministry said will be instituted so that children and adolescents living with the disease would be assisted with proper care and management.
Already, some 40 children and adolescents are enlisted under the programme which it is hoped will provide them with supplies and care.
The ministry appealed to businesses to join the initiative by pledging to support a child for one year with basic items, which will include a glucometer and a year’s supply of strips, food hampers and possibly other needs.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy in a statement to mark the day indicated that more young people are affected by the disease and it is a cause for concern. He said in Guyana more than 8,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year and about 400 persons die each year directly because of diabetes.
He said while it is true that most of the persons affected by the disease are over the age of 50, there are growing numbers of young persons and children being diagnosed. The minister estimated that some 100 children in Guyana are living with the disease, adding that there are 34 children with the disease recorded in the ministry’s database.
He said the fact that more and more young children and adolescents are being affected should make the population and health care providers more vigilant since the disease can be delayed and prevented. The minister pointed out that lifestyle choices can significantly impact diabetes as being overweight and obesity are major pre-disposing factors for the development of the disease, adding that both of the conditions are heavily influenced by what and how much people eat.
The ministry’s press release said that the ministry’s record has shown that the youngest child living with diabetes is one year old.
An appeal was made to parents, relatives, concerned citizens, community members, NGOs, religious bodies and other organisations to contact the ministry if they have information about children or adolescents living with the disease so that they can be assisted.
The release added that the disease can interrupt children’s lives since they need to monitor blood glucose levels, take medication and balance the effect of food and activity.
This year diabetes day is being observed under the theme, ‘Diabetes in Children and Adole-scents’.