September 4, 2019
Global Diabetes Walk celebrates 15th anniversary
Since 2004, thousands of Global Diabetes Walks worldwide have raised awareness and galvanised communities.
By Gwendolyn Carleton
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Global Diabetes Walk. It is a campaign that has become a powerful force for change.
The Global Diabetes Walk began in 2004 with a simple idea. By organizing walks on World Diabetes Day, organisations and individuals could raise awareness about diabetes, and how to prevent development of type 2 diabetes. Walks would be low-cost, educational, and fun. The World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) would help by providing banners, tools and guidance.
Since then, thousands of Global Diabetes Walks worldwide have raised awareness, galvanised communities and, in some cases, even changed public policy.
WDF contacted three exceptional organisers to hear what they have achieved with walks in their communities, and to hear tips for making 2019 the most impactful year yet.
Since its founding in 2014, SDMI has organised walks in the Banaadir Region of Somalia, which includes the city of Mogadishu and most of the country’s population. The first Somali walk attracted 800 participants, the second 1200 participants, the third 1500 participants, and the fourth 1600. Last year, the walk campaign held in Mogadishu and its outskirts drew a record 2500 people.
To those considering organising a walk in 2019, Dr Sheikhow says: “Your plans are imperative. Diabetes awareness is vital today given that lack of information is detrimental to the health of people with diabetes and those at risk.”
SDMI recommends that organisers prioritise the following:
In 2013, the Colombian Ministry of Health recognised the city of Barranquilla for its holistic approach to diabetes awareness and capacity building. To support and build on these accomplishments, the local NGO Fundacion Vida Nueva began organising annual Global Diabetes Walks. Since November 2013, the NGO has organised annual walks that have attracted approximately 25,000 participants.
Walk organisers should think big and involve as many different groups as possible, says Alejandro Díaz Bernier, Medico Diabetologo President of the Fundación Vida Nueva.
“I would advise that in the organisation of the activities not only involve healthcare personnel and people with diabetes, but also leaders and individuals from all social sectors – universities, employers, teachers, employees, unions, etc,” he says.
Jain Hospitals has organized the largest Global Diabetes Walks in the history of the campaign, inspiring other ambitious organisers worldwide. By collaborating with government officials, the Ministry of Health and NGOs, Jain Hospitals have organised 898 Walks with 475,000 participants to date.
The 15th anniversary of the campaign creates opportunities, Dr Jain says. Jain Hospitals will mark the Walk’s 15th Anniversary by concentrating on schools, colleges, and youth organisations.
Jain Hospitals’ plans include:
“Brisk walking for 30 minutes at least five days a week prevents not only diabetes but other NCDs, and it increases joy hormones. Walking is great way to communicate, laugh with our friends, sisters and brothers, and leads to connectedness with nature and self-awareness,” he says.
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