Over 1,600 people share ideas on battling diabetes

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that more than 1,600 people have submitted ideas on how to fight diabetes.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that more than 1,600 people have submitted ideas on how to fight diabetes. PHOTO: ST FILE

More than 1,600 people have given their ideas on how to fight diabetes as a nation, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

Their suggestions include making healthy food and drink options more easily available, having diabetes screening at more workplaces and expanding community fitness programmes.

"I am heartened to know that many participants recognised that health is ultimately a personal responsibility, and that managing one's health is the first step to fight diabetes," said Mr Gan at the opening of a World Diabetes Day event at Suntec convention centre yesterday. The event marked the launch of a public education campaign to get people living more healthily.

More than 400,000 people in Singapore have diabetes, which can lead to complications such as stroke or blindness. If nothing is done, it is estimated there will be one million residents with diabetes by 2050.

In September, the Ministry of Health (MOH) launched a six- month crowdsourcing exercise to learn how Singaporeans think diabetes can be prevented.

Eight roadshows and dialogue sessions have been held, with more planned in the coming weeks on topics such as eating out healthily.

An online public consultation will also be launched in January.

MOH will study the ideas from these sessions and work on implementing the best ones as part of the diabetes action plan - to be rolled out in stages starting next year.

The crowdsourcing sessions are the brainchild of the Diabetes Prevention and Care Taskforce, headed by Mr Gan and Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng.

Mr Gan said the task force is also looking at how to help people who already have diabetes get the best care, and prevent them from developing complications.

"This includes anchoring the care of diabetic patients with their regular family doctor within the community," he said. "The family doctor can provide good care for the diabetic patient, as well as family members who may be at risk of developing diabetes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'Over 1,600 people share ideas on battling diabetes'. Subscribe