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City and global partner wage war on diabetes

The City of Johannesburg and global health company Novo Nodisk on Thursday November 3 set the ball rolling for the 2016 Cycle 4 Diabetes Relay Race to raise awareness of diabetes and to ensure that more people living with the lifestyle disease get diagnosed.
Sixteen cyclists – four each from the City, Team Bestmed, Team C4 and Team Rand Water – are taking part in the gruelling 1 400km relay race to Thembalethu in George in the Western Cape via Maponya Mall in Soweto, Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein, Vumile Primary School in Aliwal North and Graaff-Reinet.

The cyclist are expected back in Johannesburg on Monday November 7.

At Maponya Mall, the City's Health and Social Development officials and representatives of the United States Agency International Development (USAID), University of Johannesburg's Faculty of Acute Science and a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had their hands full providing a large number of shoppers with free testing for diabetes, prostate and other cancers, tuberculosis, hypertension, HIV-Aids and feet diseases.

Speaking at the start of the race in Sandton earlier, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Cllr Mpho Phalatse said the City was honoured to be part of the campaign to tackle diabetes.

She said according to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes was ranked the fifth-biggest cause of death in South Africa.

Cllr Phalatse said more than two million people were living with diabetes in South Africa. She said of these, 79% lived in urban areas. Nearly 1.4 million had undiagnosed diabetes, she added.

"With this year's theme being 'Eyes on Diabetes', the focus is on promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications. I believe that strategic partnerships with key stakeholders and commitment are key to ensuring the reduction of the prevalence of diabetes in Johannesburg.

"There is a lot of research being done behind the scenes in order to map the scale of the problem and understand the socio-demographics of individuals at risk. We also look forward to the findings, which I believe will be shared on World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2016," Cllr Phalatse said.

She said in anticipation of the research findings, the City was in the process of improving some of its programmes, particularly the Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle initiative. Cllr Phalatse encouraged people already diagnosed with diabetes and taking treatment to join support groups.

The City had, through the Health Department, opened a training campus supported by Chris Hani Baragwanath Nursing College to train professional nurses on clinical skills to ensure proper management of patients with chronic diseases.

Cllr Phalatse also wished the cyclists the very best in the relay race. "We do not take it lightly that you have signed up for this challenge. We appreciate your efforts in helping roleplayers find practical solutions [to this disease]."​