‘Isolating’ illness discussed at launch

An Invercargill-based nurse says many struggle to seek help in Southland when they suspect they have diabetes.  One in four people in New Zealand are pre-diabetic and at risk of developing type-2 diabetes and there are more than 260,000 people with diabetes, more than double the number in 2005.

Diabetes health programme Jumpstart was launched in Invercargill on Monday as part of a national roll-out, with programmes also starting in Christchurch and Upper Hutt, near Wellington.  Jumpstart is a 10-week exercise, nutrition and lifestyle education programmes for people with diabetes.  People are referred to the programme through their GPs.  It helped more than 600 people in Auckland and Hamilton in the past two years. 

Jumpstart was founded by YMCA Auckland and healthcare company Pharmco (NZ) Ltd.  WellSouth long-term conditions community nurse Rebecca Grant said diabetes was “a massive issue” worldwide.  The number of people through-out the world with diabetes was growing by 8 per cent each year, she said.  Grant believed the biggest barrier in Southland was access.  “We actually have to go in to those communities and provide those services.”  It could be hard to ask for help, she said.  “The message I get quite often is that diabetes is quite isolating.”  A program called DESMOND at WellSouth has been teaching the self-management of diabetes since 2014. 

WellSouth clinical pharmacist Lynn Sloan said diabetes could go undetected for 10 years.  People with diabetes needed to take their health into their own hands, she said.  They just needed to take the first step.  “With the right information, you can actually empower people to actually change their outcomes,” she said. 

Speaking at the launch event on Monday evening, Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt said some city council events, such as Surf to City at the weekend, aimed to promote health and wellbeing.  The council paid $20,000 for the Surf to City.

By Amber-Leigh Woolf, taken from the Southland Times 15 March 2017.