There are over 400 million people worldwide living with diabetes. In Belize several organizations and the government are working on preventive campaigns to curb the types that are as a result of lifestyle choices. To help us with the education campaign, some members of the Belizean diaspora are on their eighth mission to Belize. Love News spoke to Vanessa Young, President of the Belize Diabetes Association of New York about their local education campaign.
Vanessa Young, President of Belize Diabetes Association New York: “Our outreach is more for the people. We’ll find a community center or a health center, collaborate with the administrator there and then bring in our healthcare personnel. So it’s really more grassroots community based. So when we were in Hopkins we were in the Help Age building, in Sitee River we were by the police station we just put up a tent and in Independence we were at Independence Primary School. This year we are doing outreach, screening, education, we brought in a diabetes educator and three of our nurses are actually Belizean American so we are really proud of the team we are building. We are trying to build a coalition of healthcare providers who may live abroad but want to come visit back home. We actually stumbled on diabetes due to Bala Leslie and Debbie Atkins out of Miami. Eight years ago they said they had thousands of monitors and they needed strips and so our first fundraiser was actually for those strips but being in healthcare and having a masters in public health I know that diabetes management is more than just strips. So we sort of founded our own organization and expanded to do education and empowerment.”
Young says the preparation work for the yearly visits by the Belize Diabetes Association of New York starts in December.