According to the UNRWA health programme in Gaza, in 2015, approximately 12.2 per cent of Palestine refugees aged 40 years or more were suffering from diabetes. In total, the UNRWA health programme in Gaza reported 16,889 male and 23,118 female Palestine refugee diabetes patients in 2015.
AhlulBayt News Agency - On the occasion of World Health Day on 7 April, awareness sessions for approximately 440 elderly persons under the theme ‘Beat Diabetes – Halt the Rise’ were organized by the UNRWA relief and social services programme (RSSP) in Gaza in coordination with the health programme.
The awareness sessions were held in eight community-based organizations (CBOs) and women programme centres (WPC) across the Gaza Strip and aimed at providing information and knowledge related to healthy lifestyles. This included the importance of physical activity, healthy diets, understanding symptoms of diabetes, and how to live with and take care of persons with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The Gaza Strip is an environment where malnutrition and infectious diseases can coexist with non-communicable health conditions such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Forced urbanization, over-crowding and the related psychosocial stress can aggravate these diseases. According to the UNRWA health programme in Gaza, in 2015, approximately 12.2 per cent of Palestine refugees aged 40 years or more were suffering from diabetes. In total, the UNRWA health programme in Gaza reported 16,889 male and 23,118 female Palestine refugee diabetes patients in 2015.
Through the provision of basic health care in its health centres, as well as regular awareness sessions for the community, UNRWA is working towards Sustainable Development Goal 3 – good health and well-being – which calls for the reduction of premature death from non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, by 30 per cent by 2030.
The primary target group of the awareness sessions were elderly persons and their families, with a view to creating an environment that allowed for open discussions and greater understanding of the needs and requirements of elderly persons for adequate care. The awareness sessions also offered a chance to conduct health check-ups, including the measurement of blood pressure, random blood glucose or the body mass index.
“It’s very important for me to attend such awareness sessions, as a diabetes patient. I need to control my food habits and to adopt a healthy lifestyle; this awareness day is very important to many of us since it also includes tests and regular check-ups,” commented 64-year- old Fathya Abu Idgheem, who attended one of the awareness days in Gaza.
The awareness sessions align with an Agency-wide effort to raise awareness among the Palestine refugee community about the importance of healthy lifestyles.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people living with diabetes globally has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. The organization marked its annual World Health Day by issuing a call to action on diabetes. In its first Global Report on Diabetes, WHO highlights the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease.