NATION

Dr Waqainabete: 25% of Adults Will Have Diabetes By 2020

Average of 350 to 500 people undergo amputations because of diabetes-related cases every year One in every four adults in Fiji is most likely to suffer from diabetes by the
23 Jun 2018 11:00
Dr Waqainabete: 25% of Adults Will Have Diabetes By 2020
Fiji National University Associate Professor in Surgery Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete

Average of 350 to 500 people undergo amputations because of diabetes-related cases every year

One in every four adults in Fiji is most likely to suffer from diabetes by the year 2020.

This was revealed by Fiji National University Asso­ciate Professor in Surgery Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete during the University of the South Pacific (USP) Lautoka Campus Director’s Forum.

“In 1970 the prevalence of diabetes in terms of new and recorded cases was only two per cent. It has now been noted that by 2020 it will increase to 25 per cent of Fiji’s adult popula­tion, so that means one in four of us sitting here will have diabetes,” he said.

“This is a worrying in­crease of 23 per cent during a time frame of 50 years, whether we have it at 20 or have it at 70 it does not mat­ter, one in four of us will have diabetes.”

He added that an average of 350 to 500 people undergo amputations because of diabetes-related cases every year.

“It depends on which year and I do not have the num­ber at the top of my head, but that is the estimated fig­ures given by the Ministry of Health.”

“We also have the highest rate in diabetes and most probably heart problems and heart attacks,” he said.

In addition, Dr Waqaina­bete said many highlighted this as a “big worry”.

“But the question remains, how big is the worry? Be­cause we have gone from two to 25 per cent within 50 years and that is a worry,” Dr Waqainabete said.

He said looking at the number of transnational companies that came on board to Fiji, the fact that people had moved away from eating their tradition­al normal food to newly pro­cessed ones.

“They are tied hand in hand and the question is how do we go about go about in changing this,” Dr Waqainabete said.

POSITIVE CHANGES WILL TAKE TIME

“It has taken 50 years to be where we are and it is not going to take one year to change it, it will prob­ably take 50 years again, so where does it start?”

He said the focus should be zeroed in on newborn babies and their mothers in terms of controlling their diets.

According to Dr Waqai­nabete, in this way Fiji will have healthy babies grow­ing up replacing the cur­rent adult generations.

“And when the baby grows older and has a baby and that baby eats the right thing and exercises then that next baby will hopeful­ly belong to the generation that decreases the current trend,” he said.

“Am I hopeful that this will work effectively, not so, I think the best we can do is reduce it back to 10 per cent and not right to two per cent because we are completely different to Fijians who were living back in 1970.”

Dr Waqainabete said those living back then were com­pletely different in terms of lifestyle, diet and way of life.

“That is the challenge that the nation of Fiji has at this very moment,” he said.

Attempts to get answers from the Ministry of Health regarding data related to diabetes proved unsuccess­ful when this edition went to press.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: peni.komaisavai@fijisun.com.fj



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