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Diabetes: an emerging epidemic and the approach to curb it |28 September 2019

Diabetes: an emerging epidemic and the approach to curb it

Guests and delegates listening to a presentation during the seminar yesterday

The Diabetic Society of Seychelles organised a one day continuing medical education (CME) under the theme ‘An Emerging Epidemic and Approach to curb it’ in collaboration with the Health Care Agency at the Sheikh Kalifa Diagnostic Centre auditorium, Seychelles Hospital.

Two renowned overseas speakers from Chennai – Prof. V. Seshiah and Dr Paneerselvam – graced the event together with principal secretary for health, Dr Bernard Valentin and other health staff.

Dr Murthy Pillay, the chairman of the Diabetic Society Seychelles, noted the seriousness of diabetes in Seychelles in his opening speech. “In our last study done in 2013 the estimated diagnosed cases of diabetes was around 6000 and around 12,000 with impaired glucose tolerance, a prevalence of around 12% in a population of 95,000 only! It is indeed not a so sweet fact that incidence and prevalence of diabetes among our people is on increasing trend in the recent years of course for the sweet country of sweetest people due to our unhealthy lifestyles and diet! Diabetes is one of the most common NCDs alongside hypertension and obesity in our small country. It is surely a big burden on our health expenditure.”

Dr Pillay also mentioned the work started by his late father Deenu Pillay as the founding chairman of the Diabetic Society. “In order to fully and clearly understand this emerging health issue in our country by knowing it thoroughly and to learn to identify the causes of this, I had a burning desire of conducting a continuing medical education seminar on diabetes by the great academic and practical teachers of this subject in the world and also have plans to continue conducting such seminars in the future with all your support.”

Dr Valentin also stressed on the support we need to give the diabetic patients. “We all know that diabetes affects one tenth of our small population. The Ministry of Health commends Dr Murthy and his collaborators for coming up with the idea and we also commend the colleagues of the HCA for accepting to be part of such an important enterprise. This seminar obviously forms part of a national continuous professional development programme. The Ministry of Health is immensely encouraged by the depth and breadth of CPD initiatives that health professionals have been pushing lately. We are encouraged that CPD initiatives are coming from both the private sector and the public sector and also from non-profit, non-governmental organisations.It is clear that we are all doing this because we share the strong desire to improve the quality of our care. For the ministry care quality improvement is a must: if we wish to live up to our new found status as a high income country; if we want to achieve and maintain a level of universal health coverage where quality of care reigns supreme and if we want to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.”

Dr Valentin also said that the ministry is yearning to see a visible reduction in the risk factors associated with diabetes. But we must work much, much harder to see this happen.

“In diabetes management we must aim for better control. We must be more systematic and more persistent and more driven by clear management protocols and standards in order to achieve this,” he noted.

The audience had the opportunity to listen to Prof. V. Seshiah who is the chairman of the Dr V. Seshiah Diabetes Research Institute in India. He is a former Professor and Emeritus Professor of diabetology of the Madras Medical College and has been instrumental in establishing an independent department of Diabetology, the first of its kind in India, at Madras Medical College and the Government General Hospital, Chennai. Prof. Seshiah was also the first to start a separate division of Pregnancy and Diabetes in 1979 in the Government Hospital for Women and Children in Egmore, Chennai. He has received several awards including the Dr B C Roy National Award for the development of the speciality of diabetology in India and Distinguished Member Award of the Association of Physicians of India.

He gave a comprehensive lecture on the Gestational Diabetes mellitus (GDM) which is defined as hyperglycemia with onset or first recognition during pregnancy.

“The incidence of gestational diabetes is still increasing and this pathological condition has strong association with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Since gestational diabetes can have long-term pathological consequences for both mother and the child, it is important that it is promptly recognised and adequately managed. Treatment of gestational diabetes is aimed to maintain euglycemia and it should involve regular glucose monitoring, dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, appropriate physical activity, and when necessary, pharmacotherapy. Adequate glycemic control throughout the pregnancy can notably reduce the occurrence of specific adverse perinatal and maternal outcomes. The timely action taken now in screening all pregnant women for glucose intolerance, achieving euglycemia in them and ensuring adequate nutrition may prevent in all probability, the vicious cycle of transmitting glucose intolerance from one generation to another. To contain the epidemic of diabetes we have to ‘Focus on the Fetus for the Future’.”


Facts about Seychelles

Did you know?

  • About half the population between ages 25 and 64 have had a glucose check in the preceding one year
  • The prevalence of diabetes increased from 6.2% to 11.9% in men and from 6.2% to 10.8% in women between 1989 and 2013
  • The prevalence of impaired fasting blood glucose (pre-diabetes) was 32% in men and 17.4% in women in 2013
  • Diabetes prevalence: The numbers of persons with diabetes and with pre-diabetes have increased markedly over time, consistent with the increasing prevalence of obesity
  • Approximately 6 000 diabetes persons in the population aged 25-64 with around 40% of them not yet identified and/or treated.
  • Prevalence increases with age.
  • Diabetes and high blood pressure are synergistic in increasing risk of complications
  • Approximately 18,000 persons with HBP in 2013 were between the ages of 25-64
  • Large proportions of persons with high BP are still not treated or are inadequately controlled with treatment.
  • About 300 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed yearly
  • About 10,000 consultations happen annually for diabetes.
  • Increasing trend in BMI a major risk factor for diabetes.
  • Poor quality of diet and inadequate physical activity are key preceding risks which are high in Seychelles.
  • Over 2/3 of population between 25 and 64 are obese or overweight (57% in men, 72% in women). However people do not think they are fat.

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