The Georgian Diabetes Association has been celebrating World Diabetes Day (WDD) since 1992 and has successfully made diabetes a top-of-mind disease in the country. On the occasion of the 2019 WDD, the Georgian Association organised an event in the King Tamar Hall of the Tbilisi City Hall, under the slogan “We all are one big family, loving, supporting, and caring for each other”. Participants included children, adolescents and adults living with diabetes as well as their families, members of the Health Committee of the Tbilisi Municipality, representatives of the Ministry of Health of Georgia, the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), the Georgian Red Cross Society and other NGOs working in the field of diabetes and/or other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The event included speeches, discussions, folk dances (Kids’ Falk Dance Troup Rustaveli) as well as prizes and awards for children with the best glycemic management, all in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. Data from the latest edition of the International Diabetes Atlas, 9th edition 2019 was presented for the first time, and attracted much interest. Positive feedback was received from the Head of the Health Committee of the Tbilisi Municipality, the Deputy Minister of Health of Georgia, and the Head of the NCDC.
The TV tower was lit in blue during the evening, while an exhibition of drawings of children with diabetes and a show were organised by the Georgia Society of Pediatric Endocrinologists at the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic. A Diabetes Walk was also organised by the Welfare Foundation-Georgia. The walk ended in front of the Municipality building, with the participants joining the WDD event.
World Diabetes Day activities in Slovenia
The Slovenian Diabetes Association (SLODA) launched its World Diabetes Day campaign on November 9, with a national celebration in Škofja Loka, which also marked the 30th anniversary of Škofja Loka’s local diabetes association.
On November 14, SLODA held a press conference with top diabetes experts in Slovenia – Prof Dr Andrej Janež, Head of Clinical Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, University Hospital Centre Ljubljana; Prof Dr Tadej Battelino, Head of Clinical Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes in Metabolic Disease, Pediatric Clinic, University Hospital Centre Ljubljana; Prof Dr Zlatko Fras, Director of the Internal Clinic UKC Ljubljana; Dr Matija Cevc, President of Slovenian Heart Foundation and Robert Gratton, President of the Slovenian Diabetes Association. The conference focused on several themes including “Diabetes protect your family”, new approaches to treat diabetes, how to prevent cardiovascular diseases and the link between diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. On November 28, representatives of the Slovenian Diabetes Association joined the National Diabetes conference organised by the Ministry of Health, which included a discussion on the new national plan for people with diabetes over 2020-2030.
As in every year, buildings, sculptures, and monuments were also illuminated in blue. This year marked a record, with 51 such illuminations all over in Slovenia. As has been the case for several years now, SLODA in collaboration with the Association of Radio Amateurs of Slovenia also celebrated World Diabetes Day with special call signs (S55T and S50G) to raise public awareness of diabetes nationwide and internationally.
World Diabetes Day activities in Faroe Islands
To mark World Diabetes Day, the Faroese Diabetes Association organised a meeting about type 2 diabetes and the latest forms of treatment, which was presented by a specialist doctor from the out patient clinic at the national hospital. This highly interactive meeting, with many exchanges, questions and answers, was held in a pleasant setting at a boat-museum and attended by about 50 people.
The Tower in the church in Hoyvík, Torshavn, was also illuminated with blue light on World Diabetes Day as it has been for the past five years. In November, the board of the Faroese Diabetes Association also met with the new Minister of Health, Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the Minister about the association's work and to offer help and expertise with regard to continuing to maintain good conditions for people with diabetes in the Faroe Islands.
The campaign against prohibited professions of the French Federation of Diabetics - "Diabetics, some jobs turn their backs on you!"
For the 2019 World Diabetes Day, the French Federation of Diabetics (an association of patients, serving patients and led by patients which represents four million people living with diabetes across 100 local associations and delegations) launched a campaign – "People living with diabetes, some jobs turn their backs on you", designed to raise awareness of the fact that today in France and in Europe, if you have diabetes, you are excluded from joining some professions including being an airplane pilot, firefighter, train driver or police officer, and to call on the French authorities to change the legislation. This legislation is out of date and does not take into account recent therapeutic progress, technological innovation and how these jobs themselves have evolved over time.
A petition has been launched (you can still sign it!) asking for the revision of the regulatory texts that prohibit people with diabetes from accessing certain professions so that they can perform the job of their choice, according to their abilities and the state of their health, on a case by case basis.
What happens in other countries?
As has been shown in other countries which have allowed people with diabetes to perform these jobs, this discrimination is no longer necessary. For example:
In Canada, it is possible to be an airline pilot when you have diabetes. Pilots with diabetes must fly with another pilot and monitor their blood glucose levels before each flight, every hour in flight and 30 minutes before landing.
In the UK, since 2012, qualified pilots and air traffic controllers with diabetes treated with insulin and other drugs can perform all operational tasks including commercial aircraft flights.
In the United States, a person with type 1 or 2 diabetes who is treated with insulin can practice as a firefighter if they meet certain medical criteria and manage their diabetes well. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced new protocols for insulin-treated diabetes, which will allow them to fly commercial airplanes. The ADA is following the development of this new protocol.
Solidarity across borders
The campaign has been supported by the Diabetes Association of Spain (Fede), Diabetes UK, Andrew Boulton, (IDF Global’s new President), and Douglas Cairn (Flying with diabetes). Solidarity across borders has already achieved much progress.
Conference on World Diabetes Day in Kazakhstan
The Association of Endocrinologists of Kazakhstan held a conference on November 14, 2019 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, focused on "Modern approaches to the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the light of the ADA-EASD and the Kazakh Consensus", in which 32 doctors participated. Some of the event speakers included Professor Bazarbekova Rimma, Professor Dzhunusbekova Gulnara, and Associate Professor Tundybaeva.
To mark World Diabetes Day, APDP organised several events.
On November 14, together with the Lisbon City Council, ADPD held a public information session in the form of a play to discuss the importance of the family in diabetes care, management and prevention. During the play “When the phone rings”, performed by the APDP Theatre Group, the public was invited to replace one of the actors and help find a solution to the presented problem/situation.
Again with the Lisbon City Council, a night walk was organised on November 16th. Departing from Jardim 9 de Abril, the more than 200 “Lisbon Viewpoint Night Walk” participants made a 5km tour through several viewpoints of Lisbon and arrived at Praça do Império, where they formed a human blue circle.
Other events organised in November included the 3rd APDP National Congress and 11th Diabetes Educators Congress, which took place on November 21-23 in Lisbon. This is a scientific event, the theme of which was “Portrait of the multiple sides of diabetes”.
Later in the month, Lisbon was officially celebrated as the 9th European City to join the international “Cities Changing Diabetes” programme, of which APDP is a partner. The initiative will focus on developing measures and activities to address the challenge of diabetes in the City of Lisbon.
In parallel to this, APDP runs an ongoing project “Diabetes in the Neighbourhood”. In three neighbourhoods of the parish of Penha de França, activities will be developed to screen and identify groups at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Educational sessions will also be held to promote health literacy and the empowerment of people living with diabetes and prediabetes, their families, and caregivers, among other community interventions. For more information, please visit: https://apdp.pt/noticias/diabetes-no-bairro-projeto-da-apdp-leva-rastreios-e-acoes-de-formacao-a-bairros-de-lisboa/
World Diabetes Day activities in Turkey
The Turkish Diabetes Association also organised a series of events in November, to raise awareness of diabetes, under the theme of Protect Your Family. This included the creation of a 25-second video about the risk factors and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. The video was showed in the public transport system during the week of 11-17 November. Leaflets on the same theme were also distributed in various public places.
On November 8 and 9 respectively, footballers from two Turkish football league teams, Kasimpasa and Sivasspor, entered the field carrying a banner saying Diabetes: Protect your family. Two information desks were also set up in busy Istanbul places –Kadikoy and Uskudar – where a specialist doctor and nurse told people about diabetes and conducted a test to ascertain their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. To emphasise the importance of exercise in the management of diabetes, an exercise bike was placed at those locations. Zumba sessions were also conducted during the events.
Meetings were also organised in collaboration with various district municipalities, which were attended by close to 1200 people.
On November 15, the Turkish Diabetes Association walked through Beyoglu, a famous and busy street in Istanbul.
The Galata Tower, a famous historic building, was lit up in blue on both November 14 and 15. Our running team, TEAM1, attended the Istanbul Marathon on November 3, with the team forming a Blue Circle before they started to run
Overall, from November 1 to 25, 13,250 people took the diabetes risk test, and events received covereage in 296 different media channels.
APDP Diabetes Portugal has been busy again over the past six months.
Over July 5-19, APDP organised a biographical exhibition “Ernesto Roma – Life and Work”, in the North Section of the College of Physicians, in Porto. Ernesto Roma, one of the greatest figures of Portuguese medicine in the 20th century, founded the first diabetes association in the world in Lisbon and was responsible for introducing the concept of therapeutic education in insulin treatment for people with diabetes in Portugal. The exhibition was conceived based on the doctor's personal items, provided by Viana do Castelo City Council, as well as on existing documentation produced by APDP.
Over August 4-9, ADPD organised its annual Summer Camp for young people between 13 and 18 years of age living with diabetes. The camp took place in Quinta do Crestelo, Seia. The camp aims to help youth deal with feelings of isolation, frequently experienced in that age group, as well as foster the exchange of experiences, all in a fun environment.