What makes you aware?

The Burj Al Arab turned blue for diabetesThe Burj Al Arab turned blue for diabetesThe Burj Al Arab turned blue for diabetes

Recently in the UAE there have been a number of diabetes awareness initiatives, mostly launching around World Diabetes Day on November 14. Many landmarks, such as the Burj Al Arab, have agreed to light up in blue to mark the occasion and to grab people’s attention. Other initiatives include Ibn Battuta Mall’s awareness month, where shoppers can stop by the diabetes booth and get a quick blood sugar test. Or there is the recent walk-a-thon in Abu Dhabi that was organized by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, where thousands turned up to walk in support of those living with diabetes.

 While all of these initiatives help to turn people’s thoughts towards the disease and it’s impact on our family, friends and society as a whole, I wonder how much it is actually affecting people to make positive lifestyle changes. Often, I find these sorts of awareness campaigns to be flashes in the pan. By that I mean everyone tunes in, jumps on the band wagon, makes a little noise and then goes back to their normal routines. Very few people actively discuss the issues and how it affects them or sits and thinks about what diabetes is and does to the body. They simply drive by a blue building while eating a cheeseburger and think, ‘that’s for diabetes.’ But do they know what diabetes is? How it slowly starves your body? That once you get diabetes it will be with you forever? That nearly one out of every two of their friends either has it or will have it in 10 years? I doubt it. Not to say it isn’t great to support the cause and help spread awareness in any way possible, but people need to be engaged on a personal level, educated about facts, and to actively talk about it with family, friends and work colleagues.

That’s why I feel so strongly about the Inspired by Diabetes campaign. It is very different. It is more of a grassroots initiative that forces people to think about how their lives are affected by the disease. It gets kids asking questions to parents and teachers. It lets people express their feelings about the disease in a creative, personal way which can then be used to educate others.

So what would help make you aware?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: