Research studies by Brunei STEPS 2015-2016 reveal every one in 10 adults have diabetes in Brunei. Diabetes remains one of the causes of death after heart attack and cancer, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said in a message in conjunction with World Diabetes Day 2022.
Diabetes is caused by low insulin production or use of insulin that is not effective on a diabetes patient causing hyperglycaemia, which is high sugar level in blood. Continuous exposure to hyperglycaemia can cause organ damage resulting in blindness, kidney malfunction, heart attack, stroke, amputation of body parts and premature death.
The minister said since 1991, the International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization (WHO) have commemorated World Diabetes day every November 14, with it being the biggest international campaign to raise awareness on diabetes.
The theme for the World Diabetes Day for 2021 to 2023 is ‘Access to Diabetes Care’. This year’s event focusses on the need for better access to quality diabetes education for healthcare professionals and individuals with diabetes. “Education to protect tomorrow,” the minister said.
The country’s citizens and permanent residents in the country have access to healthcare provided free by the government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. Comprehensive diabetes services include diabetes clinic, antenatal diabetes care, diabetes nurse education (DNE) and food specialists, annual retinopathy screening, feet screening and care for diabetes patients by podiatric specialists and other specialist clinics to manage complications related to diabetes.
The costs of medicine and laboratory tests are also covered by the government, the minister added.
The Ministry of Health (MoH)also has four government hospitals and 15 government health centres located strategically with access to diabetes care.
Aside from the advancement of drug therapy to treat diabetes, patients, the health specialists role in diabetes treatment is vital. Patients who have just been diagnosed with diabetes are given an immediate appointment with a diabetes clinic specialist, DNE and dietary specialist.
The Healthcare professionals, will provide ways to control diabetes as well as educational tools to understand and manage diabetes better.
In the aspect of development skills among nurses, particularly in the field of diabetes care treatment, the MoH in collaboration with the Politeknik Brunei’s School of Health Sciences has established a Level 5 Diploma in Health Science Programme for DNE with the first cohort of 18 nurses having successfully completed their studies this year.
The programme hopes to provide the knowledge and skills as well as best practices in diabetes care and ensure trained DNEs receiving comprehensive diabetes education.
The programme will continue to be implemented next year in light of the need for more DNEs to tackle the rise of diabetes in the country.
In an effort to control the rise of diabetes in the country, the MoH in collaboration with EVYD Technologies is conducting a diabetes management study, to help individuals with Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes patients not using insulin therapy are encouraged to participate in the study, which will conclude at the end of this month. Details of the study are available at health centres across the country, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital and on the ministry’s social media platforms.
The ministry is committed to providing the best diabetes care services as detailed in the MoH Strategic Plan 2019-2023.
Diabetes is one of the biggest burdens on the healthcare system and economy, causing loss of income and productive human resources.
“I call on all citizens and residents in Brunei Darussalam to jointly play their role in preventing and controlling diabetes in our efforts towards achieving Brunei Vision 2035.”
Meanwhile, the International Diabetes Federation report estimated last year that 537 million adults around the world have diabetes, with the number expected to increase to 643 million adults by 2030.
What is more concerning is that almost one in two adults does not realise that they have diabetes. As such, 6.7 million deaths caused by diabetes last year and one diabetes patient succumbing to death every five seconds around the world.