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World Diabetes Day: Why nurses are vital in the global fight against diabetes

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020. 1:27 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Professor Andrew Boulton, President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), has spotlighted a Belizean nurse’s contribution to the fight against the disease ahead of World Diabetes Day on November 14.

Writing on Health24, Professor Boulton notes that one in eleven adults, a total of 463 million, live with the condition, with the number expected to increase 578 million over the next decade.

But there is a decided shortfall of nurses – nearly six million, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) – leaving patients without the care they need and exposing millions to life-changing complications associated with the condition, such as heart attack, stroke, loss of vision, kidney disease and lower-limb amputation.

A survey conducted recently by IDF found that four in five nurses (82%) believe that governments are not doing enough to provide professional training in diabetes care.

Registered Nurse Judith Mendez, BSN, lives with diabetes and runs the Corozal Branch of the Belize Diabetes Association.

Nurse Mendez believes nurses provide a safe haven for people living with the condition and support them in managing it. However, with Belize having the highest prevalence of diabetes in North America and the Caribbean and governments investing very little in the training of nurses, she is adamant that the system is nearly at breaking point – a view mirrored by many nurses across the globe and a situation made much worse by Covid-19.

The IDF is urging governments and healthcare organizations to invest not only in the recruitment of more nurses but also in their training, so nurses can provide the best possible support to people living with diabetes.


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