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Global Diabetes Walk celebrates 15th anniversary

Since 2004, thousands of Global Diabetes Walks worldwide have raised awareness and galvanised communities.


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Participants at a Global Diabetes Walk in Somalia

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.

Somalia – Somalia Diabetes Management and Information Centre (SDMI), Mogadishu

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.

Recommendations:

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:

  • Reach out to media channels. To advertise your walk, use the local radio, newspapers and televisions. Contact the media as early as possible, seek assistance in promoting your walk and invite them to your event.
  • Use Social Media. Facebook and Twitter bring people together. Create online Facebook events through Facebook pages for participants to attend.
  • Organise field activities like football matches, basketball and volleyball games, and marathons. Through these events, youths can be mobilised and therefore many participants can be recruited into the events.
Colombia – Fundacion Vida Nueva, Barranquilla

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.

Recommendations:

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.

India – Jain Hospitals, Uttar Pradesh

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.

Recommendations:

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:

  • Highlighting the WDD 2019 theme Diabetes: protect your family in posters, banners, and digital media.
  • Setting and publicising a fixed time and place for the walks.
  • Inviting government administrators as Chief Guests.
  • Inviting celebrities to one or two of the bigger walks to attract younger participants.

“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.

For more information:

Visit the Global Diabetes Walk website, or contact WDF Walk Campaign Manager Kristoffer Kretzmann.

 

Gwendolyn Carleton is Communications Manager at the World Diabetes Foundation


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