World Health Day 2016 Address by Minister of Health, Social Development & Labor Hon. Emil Lee

I’m Emil Lee, I’m the Minister of Labor, Health & Social Affairs and I’m happy to commemorate world health day 2016 under the theme of Be Aware Get Diabetes Care, which is an initiative from the Ministry of Health in particular our department of CPS or Collective Preventive Services.

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in our country, it is a disease where the body cannot properly process the sugar within its system.  So it has a number of impacts on your health if its untreated, including possibly kidney disease, amputation of limbs particular lower limbs, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage and for men erectile dysfunction.  But the thing is actually diabetes is one of the diseases that is most manageable, only 10% of diabetes patients require insulin injections; the others, type-2 diabetes actually much of it can be managed by lifestyle choices. So that’s very good, what that means is if you find out at an early age that you are prone to diabetes, you can do a lot to manage the disease and with simple lifestyle choices, as a matter of fact my mother is diabetic and so I always take very personal care to make sure that I maintain a good body weight so that I’m not prone to contracting diabetes myself.

So one of the first things to do is to make sure you’re not overweight,  and that very often is related to being active, making sure that your exercising but also paying attention to what you eat; unfortunately in our society a lot of the drinks that we drink, even juices, things that you believe are healthy are actually laden with sugar; very heavy sugar contents, as well as processed foods and so this is one of the things you really need to be careful about is eating white breads, pastas, things like that, things that you might not necessarily think of as sweet but the body converts these carbohydrates into sugar.

Also because you have a tendency to contract cardiovascular diseases, things like smoking are also high contributors towards increased complications.  A lot of it is about being aware, of a condition, so that means diagnosing it at an early stage and a lot of it then can be treated with lifestyle choices like being more physically active, keeping your body weight down; but really being aware of what kinds of foods are good for you to eat and how you should manage it; and so that means, monitoring, going to your family doctor, for example you can also test by test kits at home where you can test your blood to see what your blood sugar levels are; so a lot of it can just be done by managing your lifestyle.


The Ministry is also helping to combat diabetes in our community by being more proactive about preventative health care. One of the other things is, helping people who are already diagnosed with diabetes to help instruct them as to how to take care of themselves, for example foot care, so that you make sure that your taking care of your body and not letting the disease  get to the point where you need more invasive procedures.