Miss World Guyana 2017 Vena Mookram yesterday launched her ‘Sweet Vigor’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness about Type 1 diabetes and promote a healthy diet and exercise.
Mookram, who is also using the campaign as her Beauty With a Purpose project for the international pageant, noted that the history of diabetes in her family, the lack of knowledge of diabetes among the youth and the high number of Guyanese who are affected, were among the reasons she took on the cause.
During the launch, held at Cara Lodge, she noted that based on statistics provided by the International Diabetes Federation, in 2014, 61,800 persons in Guyana were affected by diabetes, while the CDC Global Heath report stated that diabetes was the fourth highest cause of death in Guyana. The latest report out of the Caricom Health Commission in early July 2017 stated that Guyana has the highest diabetes rate in all of the Americas, she revealed.
With the support of the Guyana Diabetic Association and the Young Leaders in Diabetes, Mookram aims to promote more awareness of the chronic non-communicable disease.
Mookram said that from now until October, she will be initiating a series of activities in aid of her nation-wide awareness campaign. These will include Public Service Announcements, which be broadcast on television and radio, health fairs, walks, a diabetes care cookbook, and the one she is most excited about, the launch of a fitness park in Diamond.
The park, Mookram explained, will be launched in partnership with the Diamond Neighbourhood Democratic Council, and she was enthused about it since it is an opportunity to leave a legacy that would benefit the lives of so many.
She and her team will be promoting the benefits and importance of being tested early to ensure early diagnosis. “While we will be focused on getting tested early, our main goal is to educate the public on how to prevent and treat the disease… The more that are educated, the easier it is to prevent the disease,” Mookram said.
She promised that her campaign will reach out to those in need of information and provide them with dietary facts. “… We would give guidelines that will help everyone and also ensure that anyone who needs extra help in the process of treating diabetes receives it,” she added.
Dr Shanti Singh-Anthony, who also spoke at the launch, said diabetes has a cure in the form of prevention and there is always the need to educate persons. Singh-Anthony said persons have to eat a healthy diet, exercise and limit their use of alcohol and tobacco. She added that she is very pleased that the tobacco legislation has been passed by the National Assembly. Singh-Anthony said that Mookram’s platform ties into the World Health Organization’s recommended approach to addressing chronic non-communicable diseases.
Also speaking at the launch were President of the Guyana Diabetic Association Glynis Beaton, and Representative of President of Young Leaders in Diabetes Keziah Nestor, who also shared their enthusiasm of partnering with Mookram to help fight diabetes among Guyanese, especially the youth. Beaton said Mookram’s intervention will give the Guyana Diabetic Association, the Young Leaders in Diabetes and the Ministry of Public Health a boost in advocating for diabetes prevention through diet and exercise.