Claudette Thorne

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Claudette Thorne

Poslaťod god5mane98 » 19 Máj 2017 18:24

…as activities commence to mark World Diabetes DayBy Sharmain GraingerPremised on the notion that knowledge is power coupled with the need to help arrest the evident impact that diabetes could have on a society, the Guyana Diabetic Association was established some four decades ago. At least this is according to First Vice President of the Association, Dr Maxine Swain, who has been a part of the entity since 2002.She revealed during an interview with this publication that the Non-Governmental Organisation has over the years been seeking to expand its reach and fulfil the mandate of offering education to diabetics, potential diabetics, as well as their relatives and friends. “What we have adopted is looking at the wellbeing of our diabetics and their education; once they are educated and understand their condition they are better able to control their diabetes,” said Dr Swain, who has been battling the challenges of the disease herself.She pointed to the fact that no medical person has the ability to control a diabetic, but rather, the important thing to do is to teach them self management.Standing from left are: Dr Maxine Swain, Mr Matthew Moore and Ms Stella Ogle. Sitting is Ms Claudette Thorne.“The doctors or the nurses are not with you 24/7…so who controls your diabetes? You do! But how can you do it? You have got to have the knowledge,” she stated categorically.According to Dr Swain, there is currently a need for much more to be done in Guyana to help reduce the scourge of diabetes, which she believes “has been placed on the back burner with the advent of HIV/AIDS. It is not that we stopped having chronic diseases because this is known to take more lives than HIV/AIDS, especially since there is treatment,” she insisted. She explained that although HIV has since been classified as another chronic disease, it is certainly not killing as before, thus allowing for persons to live longer.However with the advancement of age, persons become prone to a number of chronic diseases, which is compounded by the fact that a number of the medications used to control HIV are producing diabetics, Dr Swain disclosed.This was particularly emphasised at a conference in Jamaica a few years ago, which examined HIV and diabetes as a deadly duo, she added. The papers that were presented at that forum showed the disturbing trend that some of the drugs required to suppress HIV are instead provoking diabetes in some people.Reflecting on the past, Dr Swain mused over the fact that the disease was considered an old people affliction, but has since evolved to an extent that even teenagers are suffering from Type Two diseases. Though Type two is more prevalent – since some persons are unable to produce insulin –  it is linked to lifestyle implications which are further impacted as individuals become older. “We over-eat, we sit down all day, we do little or no exercise and the foods we eat are allowing for people to become obese.”She revealed that at the moment there are 366 million people worldwide suffering from diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).  Of this total, 186 million are unaware, Dr Swain informed.  This daunting state of affairs, she added, has prompted some troubling predictions. According to her, should nothing be done to remedy the situation, projected estimates made by IDF suggest that some 552 million people will be living with diabetes by 2030.It is with this in mind that the Association is preparing to observe World Diabetic Day come Wednesday (November 14) under the global theme ‘Diabetes education and prevention ’. Moreover, the Association is set to commence a week of activities to raise awareness about the need for education on the issue of diabetes.The activities will kick off with a church service today at the St Peter’s AME church situated at Lance Gibbs and New Garden Streets, Queenstown in Georgetown, which will commence at 10:00 hours. Tomorrow, the awareness drive will be spearheaded by the Association’s Region Three arm, The Diabetic Association of Region Three – a move which would facilitate the distribution of reading materials among other sensitisation activities. Activities are also expected to be undertaken on Friday in the mining town of Linden where the Association has a presence.A one-day (09:00 – 16:00 hours) exhibition at the Nurses’ Association Hall will characterise the activities on Wednesday where a number of diabetic-oriented undertakings will occur, such as the display of reading materials, blood tests, blood glucose and blood pressure testing activities.It is also expected that the exhibition will feature Body Mass Index (BMI) tests, since according to Dr Swain, “people need to know their BMI. Even people who come off the streets, they may not have high blood sugar but if they have BMI of over 25 we know that they are heading into danger and we can advise our people to counsel them so that they can get back into a normal range.”Once an individual’s BMI is reverted to a normal range, Dr Swain explained, it would effectively cut the possibility of them having chronic diseases. “Diabetes likes company…it walks hand in hand with hypertension and then there is heart diseases, high cholesterol and the whole range follows.”While education will be the main focus of the entire week of activities, efforts will take on a more entertaining and relaxing mode on Saturday with a special dinner at the Princess International Hotel, Providence. In fact, the activity is intended to raise funds to further the Association’s effort, since it has been operating with limited finances.According to Secretary of the Association, Stella Ogle, those who are desirous of supporting the Association’s dinner can do so by contacting her on mobile number 615-3356.Though not a diabetic herself, she said that she has found the information obtained through the Association very beneficial. She has thus far been able to adopt a healthy lifestyle and has been encouraging her family members to do the same with a view of reducing the chances of developing diabetes.“I realised that I can take the education I gain through the Association and keep myself and even help others stay away from getting diabetes, and that is exactly what I have been doing.”Treasurer of the Association, Claudette Thorne, has been described by many as a “well controlled diabetic.”  The former army officer revealed that over the years she has been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle since coming to learn that the disease can affect the entire body if left unattended. Though a diabetic in recession, Thorne said that she still attends clinic regularly and is well aware that “if I go and do the wrong thing it could just pop up back.”Matthew Moore, who became a member of the Association earlier this year, is a nurse attached to the Guyana Power and Light Inc., and according to him, he fully recognises the importance of education. He revealed that his membership came as part of his efforts to help bridge the gap between some of his patients’ diagnoses and needful education.“The information that I get I pass it on to them and hopefully that will encourage them to join as well.”The Guyana Diabetic Association was established in 1969 by a group of concerned diabetics, with the aim of advocating for the management, wellbeing and education of similarly inflicted individuals.  The current President is Ms Glynis Alonzo-Beaton and the body currently has a membership of over 100 individuals. Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month (with the exception of holidays) at the Nurses’ Association Hall situated at the corner of Alexander and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown.
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