WDD 2023 activities in New Zealand
654 events in 108 countries

WDD 2023 activities in New Zealand

A combination of community-based stakeholder meetings and scientific research presentations and talk show on Pacific media network. Start Date: November 8, 2023
End Date: November 30, 2023

Dr Ofa Dewes MNZM, Director, &
Dr Fulton Shannon, Research Officer

World Diabetes Day (WDD) is the most extensive diabetes awareness campaign, reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people to promote advocacy efforts and the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health problem.
Diabetes is a significant public health problem in New Zealand, with more than 300,000 individuals, diagnosed with Type 1 and the Type 2 disease. Type 2 Diabetes is the commonest among people diagnosed with diabetes in New Zealand, and the incidence of cases is rising.1 Approximately 400,000 people are projected to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes by 2040, with a significantly high rate among Pacific and Māori people.2 Inadequate knowledge about diabetes, limited awareness and advocacy for access to diabetes care could explain this trend.3 Delayed diagnosis or poorly managed diabetes increases the risks of a person developing other chronic health conditions like kidney and cardiovascular diseases or inequitable educational outcomes hence, early detection and management are crucial.4,5,6

The focus of the 2023 WDD campaign highlights the importance of knowing one’s risk of diabetes to help arrest or prevent the illness. It stresses early diagnosis and increased access to diabetes services, including early treatment and management to avert the effects of diabetes-related complications.
In line with the above, researchers from the Langimalie Research Centre (LRC) led a community-based initiative to raise awareness of Types 1 and 2 Diabetes, primarily through health promotion campaigns, and risk communication against Type 2 Diabetes during outdoor and indoor programmes with a focus on information sharing, and relationship-building among stakeholders. We also augmented the WDD logo to a blue circle of forget-me-not-flowers – a flower indigenous to New Zealand (Chatham Islands) - as a beautiful reminder that we must continue to advocate through our research for better public health approaches, care models and services for children, young people and adults including older adults living with diabetes.

The LRC joined institutions from over 100 countries and participated in more than 600 events globally to recognise WDD on 14 November 2023 and throughout November. Registration of our activity can be found on the following link:https://worlddiabetesday.org/activities/events/diabetes-awareness-access-and-care/. We implemented and participated in the following activities:
• On 8 November 2023, we held a Radio Talk show on the Pacific Media Network to engage with and inform the Pacific community about the status of diabetes in New Zealand, especially among people of Pacific origin. We also provided health promotion messaging on preventing and treating diabetes and how people can access care.
• On 11 November 2023, we participated in the Tongan Health Society COVID-19 vaccination drive-through exercise where we distributed WDD wristbands and pamphlets with health promotion messages (in Tongan) on preventing and treating type 2 Diabetes and how people can access care. A risk communication discussion was also held with clergies from Tongan churches in attendance.
• In observance of WDD day (14 November 2023), we held a community-based health promotion campaign with the Tuvaluan community in West Auckland. This community meeting discussed the importance of recognising World Diabetes Day, risk communication against diabetes, information sharing, and stakeholder relationship-building. This event was reported in the National Science Challenge for Ageing Well newsletter and can be found on the following link, https://www.ageingwellchallenge.co.nz/pacific-cultures-researchers-meet-with-tuvalu-community-group/. Pamphlets and WDD wristbands were provided at another meeting with Māori stakeholders.
• We also discussed and distributed the health promotion pamphlets (in English, Samoan and Hindi) and WDD wristbands on 15 and 21 November to attendees of two local business associations and a community-based diversity festival.
• On 23 and 24 November, we met with researchers in Dunedin to discuss ways on how our culturally-centred work may contribute to the notion of ‘supported’ self-management of people living with diabetes. We also highlighted the inequities faced by our most vulnerable population groups regarding access to Type 1 Diabetes care, related services, and support.
• On 29 November we hosted our final community-based health promotion campaign with the Tokelau community in South Auckland and led a discussion on follow-up action.

Although this was the Langimalie Research Centre’s inaugural observance of World Diabetes Day 2023, we are convinced of a successful campaign to raise awareness of diabetes in communities mostly affected by this global epidemic in New Zealand. In addition, this initiative facilitated valuable stakeholder relationship-building with communities and institutions involved with diabetes research, advocacy and service delivery. The ultimate expectation is that our ‘forget-me-not’ circle of global connections, relationships and strategic partnerships will help to strengthen coordinated and concerted activations to support increased awareness and better access to diabetes care for those who need it in New Zealand and beyond.

1. Ministry of Health NZ. Diabetes. Available from: httpsL//www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/diabetes. Cited 2023 20 July.
2. Holder-Pearson L, Chase JG. Socio-Economic Inequity: Diabetes in New Zealand. Front Med. 2022; 9:756223.
3. Chepulis L, Morrison B, Cassim S, Norman K, Keenan R, Paul R, et al. Barriers to Diabetes Self-Management in a Subset of New Zealand Adults with Type 2 Diabetes and Poor Glycaemic Control. J. Diabetes Res. 2021:5531146.
4. Dall TM, Yang W, Halder P, Franz J, Byrne E, Semilla AP, et al. Type 2 diabetes detection and management among insured adults. Popul Health Metr. 2016; 14(1):43.
5. Wu R, Burnside M, Davies H, Jefferies C, Wheeler B, Paul R, Wiltshire E, de Bock M, Williman J. Prevalence and incidence of type 1 diabetes in children aged 0-14 years old in New Zealand in 2021. J Paed & Child Health. 2023:59(3):519-525.
6. Wheeler, B. Is access to type 1 diabetes technology equitable in Aotearoa New Zealand. 2023. Presentation, Edgar Diabetes & Obesity Research Centre 20thAnniversary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V98sKi2ZpPo

Organizer: Dr Ofa Dewes and Dr Fulton Shannon

Event Email: ofa.dewes@tonganhealth.com