Within the next 20 years, it is estimated that almost 30 per cent of First Nations people will have Type 2 diabetes.
If that stat holds true, the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre could be dealing with about 900 diabetes patients.
Dr. Tim Zmijowskyj, a family physician at the centre, said diabetes was virtually unknown within the aboriginal community as little as 65 years ago.
Now, it is a huge health concern.
Angela Recollet, executive director of the centre, said “diabetes is high in the population we serve.”
To help combat the rising number of diagnoses, the centre is hosting an open house on Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day, giving clients the advice they need to lead more healthy lifestyles.
Some of the activities taking place at the open house include traditional teachings, western medical treatment stations for blood pressure, blood sugar and foot care, cooking demonstrations and activity courses.
Sharlene Pitts, a diabetes nurse educator at the centre, said people who attend will “learn information they can take home and use on a day-to-day basis.”
The centre regularly offers a range of “collaborative” services that focus on overall well-being, tackling each client’s individual health care challenges, and encouraging them toward a more healthy life.
The open house will also be beneficial for those living with and caring for diabetes patients. The goal of the program is to educate everyone on how to live better with diabetes.
Doreen Pippy, a dietitian at the centre, said using the centre’s health-based approach complements its vision for “finding the gift in the disease.”
She said healthier, stronger communities can be built when diabetes candidates make an effort to prevent the disease from becoming part of their lives.
The open house held on Diabetes Day is open to all members of the community, regardless of ethnic or cultural backgrounds.
The centre, located at 161 Applegrove St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be illuminated with blue lights — the colour of diabetes.
For more information, phone the centre at 705-675-1596.
Posted by Jenny Jelen