On November 14, in honor or World Diabetes Day, Nazarbayev University School of Medicine (NUSOM) held an outreach event at a major metropolitan shopping center to educate the public about one of the most common diseases in the world – diabetes. The campaign aimed to familiarize the Kazakhstani population about the symptoms, treatment and problems related to the disease, to overcome public indifference, to encourage early screening, and to spread a culture of blood sugar control.
Worldwide around 425 million adults (or every 11th person) suffer from diabetes. For Kazakhstan, statistically about 1.3 million people are affected, but more than half may not be diagnosed. Poor diabetes control can lead to serious complications, including heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation, and blindness. This is why early diagnosis and treatment are essential for delaying, and in some cases preventing, these more serious life-threatening complications.
NUSOM students measured the body mass index and blood sugar level of more than 300 people, administered a brief questionnaire to assess the risk of diabetes, and then gave personal recommendations to the participants based on the results of these examinations. According to Kuralay Atageldiyeva, an Instructor in the School of Medicine “There were 8 new cases of diabetes mellitus, 13% of the surveyed had a high risk, 16% – moderate and 24% – low risk of diabetes. For 43.5% of the patients the risk of developing diabetes in the next 10 years was less than 1%.”
The event ended with a Diabetes Flash Mob to promote the role that family and loved ones can play in the prevention and education of diabetes, a disease which effects millions of people around the world daily.
World Diabetes Day was introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to the growing threat of diabetes worldwide. Since 2007, it has been held under the auspices of the United Nations.