TT Diabetes Association Youth Wing helps raise diabetes awareness


Young graduates from the Diabetes Association of TT at the Youth Advocacy Branch Launch and Graduation Ceremony, Daga Hall, UWI, St Augustine on November 5th. -JEFF K MAYERS

Vishanna Phagoo

Although the prevalence of diabetes seems to be decreasing in the 20-79 age group, the figure may not be accurate as there are still many people who may not have been tested for the disease not transferable. A recent World Bank Group report showed a decline from 14.1% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2021 of people with diabetes in this age group in Trinidad and Tobago. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar, also called blood sugar, is too high.

The Diabetes Association of TT (DATT) recently launched its youth advocacy wing, chaired by 19-year-old David Gobin.

Gobin, an aspiring doctor, applied for the youth internship program to further his career in the medical field.

He told Newsday: “First of all, I love volunteering. Just being able to offer my services, especially to vulnerable groups in our country, without expecting much in return, brings me great satisfaction. Second, being part of a nonprofit has been on my to-do list since I graduated high school.

He said he learned how to test blood glucose and pressure levels and conduct research effectively.

“These skills would be useful as they would prepare me for the start of my medical school career and even for my future career as an established doctor. Plus, I could become a certified volunteer, doing regular testing for anyone who might be interested. »

Gobin said no one in his immediate family had been diagnosed with diabetes, but learning these skills was in line with his ‘knowledge is power’ stance and as a way to make informed decisions. . He said that knowing the importance of diabetes screening can help combat the incidence rate of the disease.

“In terms of importance to me, I realized that my health is my greatest wealth. I would also like to pass on my knowledge and expertise to other members of the youth wing and to the young people of the country by extension, because we are the future of TT,” said Gobin.

He said during the internship, the youth branch was responsible for doing blood sugar and blood pressure tests on other interns at the DATT headquarters in Chaguanas, and blood group tests at the UWI biology lab, St Augustine campus with the assistance of a medical laboratory technician.

David Gobin, president of the youth advocacy arm of the TT Diabetes Association. -JEFF K MAYERS

“We held a two-day camp at the end of August for children with type 1 diabetes, which is diagnosed very early in a person’s life. There were a decent number of children with type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks itself and the person is unable to produce insulin. These children should therefore be injected with insulin and very frequently checked their blood sugar levels. Type two, on the other hand, is more common in adults, not necessarily in young people, but it can occur depending on the severity.

Oceana Mohan, Vice President of Youth Branch, is a senior student at Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College. She said, like Gobin, that she joined the program to help him pursue a medical career.

“I thought this internship would give me exposure in the medical field. But I was also keen to join since I have close family members who have lived with diabetes for as long as I have known them. I was persuaded to join the association to learn more about diabetes with the aim of helping my family members and, by extension, those in my community living with this disease.

The 18-year-old said the whole program was a “blessing in disguise” as she was exposed to more than she thought, learning about marketing, fundraising, administration and research. She added that she also attended surgery, visited health clinics across the country, and performed blood sugar and pressure tests on others.

“However, the most profound lesson I learned throughout the experience was the importance of service to others. I realized that through volunteering and the simple act of selflessness, I can make a difference in my community, whether big or small,” Mohan said.

Another youth advocate, Gerald Charles, said he joined in honor of his mother who recently died of diabetes. He said he was impressed by her willingness and ability to reach out to other young people who were in a similar situation.

“Earlier this month I lost my mother and she had suffered complications from diabetes for nearly 17 years. I joined a volunteer program with DATT to learn more about my mother’s disease and be able to I also joined because both sides of my family have a high type 2 diabetes population which puts me at high risk I would like to help other young people so they don’t get diagnosing diabetes,” Charles said.

The 18-year-old said he has also volunteered at St Clair Medical Centre, Maska Ltd Eye Clinic, San Fernando and DATT Type 1 Diabetes Camp to educate as many people as possible. possible on the disease.

“The camp was actually pretty quiet with a great turnout. The most memorable moments for me were presenting the scientific experiments prepared by the volunteers and eating the carbonated fruits. We showed color changes and made bath bombs and the kids loved it. We used dry ice to make fizzy fruits, which encouraged the majority of children to eat them as they were the equivalent of healthy soft drinks. The last day’s zumba class to let the kids release their excess energy was also a joy to participate in,” said Charles.

He said since his mother passed away, he wanted to make sure people get the help they need to lessen the effects of diabetes. As a sixth-form student at St Benedict’s College, La Romaine, Charles would teach what he learned to his classmates in the lower grades of the school.

“I learned how to do various types of blood tests, read nutritional information on snacks and juices, and help build a diet that’s right for someone based on their current lifestyle. It would help me improve as I am currently in the process of changing my eating habits.


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