On the 17 November 2022, the University of Pretoria Diabetes Research Centre hosted a vibrant diabetes awareness event for the community of Mamelodi to celebrate World Diabetes Day.
The event held in Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre was organised jointly by the Tshwane District Health Services and the Tshwane Insulin Programme (TIP), a research initiative by the Diabetes Research Centre, aimed at improving the control of blood glucose in people with diabetes, with a particular interest in initiating insulin therapy in people with type 2 diabetes.
“The Tshwane Insulin Programme aims to identify patients with type 2 diabetes who require insulin and start them on insulin therapy with the clinic staff. However, our research has found that most people do not want to go on insulin therapy, while their condition requires them to,” said Dr Patrick Ngassa Piotie, Project Manager of the Tshwane Insulin Programme.
“Our goal with this event is to dispel the myths and misconceptions around insulin. We want to raise awareness of diabetes, specifically around insulin. We hope that this event will assist us in educating people living with diabetes, their families, and the community about insulin and its benefits.”
In addressing misconceptions around insulin, the Diabetes Research Centre hosted a series of public awareness and education programmes to encourage successful insulin initiation, promote long‐term treatment adherence for people diagnosed with diabetes, and increase access to optimal diabetes care as part of primary healthcare.
Vibrant music set the tone for the event that saw healthcare providers from Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre educating the community and screening people for blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, foot care for people at risk, and weight measurement.
Designed to be a one-stop shop for all things diabetes-related, the event brought people with lived experience of diabetes closer to social workers, oral health services, podiatry services, optometry services, dietician services, and audiology services, which are crucial in the management and care of diabetes. The services are accessible at the Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre.
Community members were given an opportunity to receive information on how to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Healthcare professionals encouraged healthy eating habits and physical activity, discouraging smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. In addition, those already diagnosed with diabetes could receive information on diabetes management and connect with diabetes-related services.
Dr Piotie praised the leadership demonstrated by Sister Mapitso Makgamatha, the facility manager, and thanked her for supporting the Tshwane Insulin Programme and for making this event a success. “The implementation of the Tshwane Insulin Programme relies on the participation of healthcare workers. At this facility, a multidisciplinary team works together to improve the lives of people living with diabetes despite many challenges,’” he said.