LAHORE - Health Minister Kh Salman Rafiq and Danish Ambassador Ole Thonke inaugurated the Punjab Diabetes Forum at a local hotel yesterday.

Salman said the forum was a great example of public-private partnership that would be a milestone to fight against diabetes. “This forum will help identifying the strategies and way-forward for the better advocacy and awareness campaigns,” he added.

Other speakers, on the occasion, highlighted the seriousness of the issue and stressed the need of taking effective measures for prevention of silent killer. They urged early diagnosis and proper management to avoid complications.

Ole Thonke said Denmark has 100 years experience of fighting diabetes. “We want to share this with Pakistan. The public and private sector needs to join forces with all stakeholders in the health sector for the overall public good,” he told the forum.

“In Pakistan, the Embassy of Denmark is actively working with the federal and provincial governments as well as the private sector to address the increasing burden of diabetes,” the envoy added.

Health Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah informed that they were aware of diabetes issue in Punjab and taking initiatives with the support of Embassy of Denmark for the advocacy of prevention and control of this disease. “The encouraging factor is the belief of the government in public-private partnership model,” the secretary said, adding that he has nominated KEMU vice chancellor Prof Faisal Masood as Chairman Taskforce on Diabetes.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of Punjab Diabetes Forum, Prof Faisal Masood said the scale of diabetes prevalence was largely underestimated as the disease prevalence has reached nearly 20 per cent instead of the estimated 10pc. “Diabetes is a silent killer that fuel fatal and crippling diseases like renal and heart failure, stroke, blindness. It is a major burden on health sector as mere prevention can reduce dialysis, stenting and amputations by half,” he added.

He further said that unhealthy lifestyle and bad eating habits was resulting in obesity leading to diabetes. He stressed the need of stop linking obesity with health and prosperity, also urging the people to avoid eating fast food, rich-fat or oily food, Naan, and cold drinks.

He suggested taking healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables and regular exercise like jogging or walking to prevent diabetes. “If people still want to eat food cooked in oil, then they should freeze cooked food and separate the oil layer frozen on top of it,” he suggested.

The taskforce on diabetes would prepare a checklist of prevention, early detection, quality management and treatment of complications and implement minimum standardised treatment in all districts.

Prof Masood further advised people to get their sugar test done at least once a year. He stressed the need to create grounds for sports in schools, colleges and residential colonies. He also condemned the role of quackery in increasing the burden of disease and added that negative campaign regarding treatment of diabetes through dates or other local methods tantamount to misleading the people.

Prof Azizur Rehman said that diabetes was contracted without any signs of pain or fever and therefore called a silent killer, adding that prevention was the most cost-effective intervention.

 

HEPATITUS PREVENTION

Separately, the minister for specialized healthcare and medical education, Kh Salman Rafiq chaired a meeting on Hepatitis Prevention & Treatment Programme at Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center.

During the meeting, issues such as injection safety and infection control, hospital waste management, mass vaccination of hepatitis B, treatment and care of the hepatitis patients, and awareness of both healthcare providers and general public were discussed in detail.

PKLI president Dr Saeed Akhter said the Hepatitis Prevention and Treatment Clinic (HPTC) would be launched at the end of this year. Highlighting the importance of this project, Salman Rafiq said the close coordination of PKLI with several government departments was important.

Representatives from several departments were present to discuss issues related to construction of PKLI and HPTC buildings.