Scale up prevention, strengthen care, and enhance surveillance
27 April 2016, Jerusalem: The Palestinian Ministry of Health has commemorated World Health Day by promoting effective strategies for beating diabetes in Palestine, in coordination with the World Health Organization’s highlighting of early detection and prevention of diabetes. Palestine has high prevalence rates for this major disease, which will likely worsen in coming years due to modern diets of refined foods and high carbohydrates, and sedentary lifestyles.
Diabetes can be prevented with effective lifestyle changes, including maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity, normal body weight and avoiding tobacco. However, these measures are not widely implemented by the public. According to the Ministry of Health/WHO national survey of NCD risk factors (STEPS 2010/2011), 9 out of every 10 Palestinians living in oPt have at least one risk factor for a non communicable disease, whether diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, or cancer. About 58% of men and women aged 15–64 are overweight and of these, 27% are obese; 75.3% do not exercise and 20% are currently smoking.
Simple screening tests allow early detection. If detected, timely and appropriate diabetes management can prevent or slow the progression of diabetes and long-term complications, including cardiovascular, kidney and eye disease, ultimately affecting quality of life and contributing to premature death.