10% of the Maltese adult population lives with diabetes. A significant amount of these people are not even aware of their condition. Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented, and all types of diabetes can be managed to prevent complications. Our campaign this year focused on empowerment, and the importance of empowering people through educational resources and active measures to be able to prevent and manage this condition effectively, our slogan being - Don’t Sugar Coat It.
The 14th of November marks the day around which MMSA- Public Health annually joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Diabetes Day.
The preparatory workshop took place on this international awareness day during which first year medical students were trained to perform health screenings of blood pressure, blood glucose and BMI, how to interpret results and how to approach the public to share information and answer any questions posed. A total of 80 first year students were given a presentation about diabetes by a doctor and were trained by medical students with experience in the field of these screenings.
The main event took place in front of the new Parliament building in Valletta. Here, besides the free aforementioned health screenings (blood pressure, glucose and BMI), we were also accompanied by podiatry students that offered free foot examinations since complications related to the feet are of particular significance among diabetics. In fact, Eucerin foot cream was available for free at the stands to be used or tested to promote healthy foot care.
Several posters and leaflets were displayed for educational purposes. With he international theme this year being Women and Diabetes, a stand with educational activity as well as a survey about gestational diabetes was present. Further to this, students were constantly outreaching, sharing information and encouraging the public to visit our stands for the free screenings.
130 medical students took part and the health screenings were performed for over 300 people.
An important aspect to our activities was the associated social media campaign and promotion. A number of infographics were posted online. Further to this, the Public Health team filmed and posted two videos. The first posted on World Diabetes Day features Hon. Chris Fearne, Dr. Roberta Metsola, Dr. Miriam Dalli and Dr. Charmaine Gauci each sharing a personal message and encouraging people to join the main event. Finally, an informative video was posted featuring Prof. Stephen Fava and Prof. Kevin Cassar describing diabetes and its complications.
This campaign was supported by the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate.