The One Touch Ministry and Nobesity Samoa are running a “Raising Awareness for Diabetes” campaign this Saturday.
A first for its kind to be held in Samoa, the campaign is known as the Global Diabetes Walk run by the World Diabetes Foundation on November 14 every year.
The campaign includes a one hour walk beginning at 7:40am from the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.) to the Seafood Gourmet Bar and Grill and back, with a 20 minutes exercise and healthy refreshments to follow.
Free registration opens at 6:30am at S.T.A.
According to the Director of One Touch Ministry, Pastor Lenny Solomona, the global walk was initiated in 2004 and ever since then, about three million people from more than 100 countries have come on board to run this campaign within their countries.
“The purpose is to raise awareness about diabetes,” he said.
“The Ministry wants to start if off now so that we can get people on board and encourage them to take part in preventative programmes for the rest of the year. We were supposed to have it two weeks ago, but the cyclone forced us to postpone it.
“At the moment there are 186 countries that carry out this program, so once we finish this, we will inform the Word Diabetes Foundation and they will put us down as the 187th country.”
He explained: “We were already aware of the walk and when we received some funds from the U.S. Embassy last year, we thought the walk is the best place to put the money into good use and get as many people as we can from all different backgrounds to come in and just understand that there is a solution, an alternative to diabetes.
“So this money we’ve used to purchase t-shirts and for the catering of our food. And also because our program is just within our organisation and we wanted to do something for the benefit of the whole of Samoa.”
Pastor Lenny says it’s the lack of preventative measures rather than awareness that sees the increase in the number of diabetics in Samoa.
“I don’t think it’s the lack of awareness because we all know the problem,” he said. “I think it’s not implementing enough preventative programmes and that’s where we really want to get the Ministers on board and help in reducing the number.”
He hopes that at the end of the campaign, there would be able to offer preventative solutions to people.
“I think overall we just want our nation to be more aware and consume our natural food because we consume a lot of canned foods and sweet foods and at the end people will have to go on dialysis, there’s no life there.
“I’d rather educate our people. I guess out of this too, we want to keep bringing in a lot of educational programmes and to bring that awareness within our Parliament as well.”
The Ministry is looking at making this an annual event and Pastor Lenny is calling on relevant organisations to come on board and join the walk.
“We need to work together, there’s not one organization or programme that can do all. I really want to get the Crossfit people, people who do Zumba, all these people because we all have the same message of wanting to help people.
“And being a Pastor, there’s one body with many parts, the parts need each other. I liken that here in Samoa, One Touch Ministry is not the body, we’re just one part and if we all play our part everything will be okay.
“The key is as long as you stay healthy and collectively working together to keep the diabetes epidemic down. I guess the message is we’re better working together.”
Pastor Lenny explained they are considering taking the programme to Savai’i because there’s a great need of awareness on both islands.