Diabetes on the rise in children

PHOTO: Diabetes on the rise in children

CHILDREN diagnosed with Type II diabetes is increasing in Brunei, potentially threatening Brunei's future labour force, an officer at the Health Promotion Centre said yesterday.

Health Facilities Officer Shahiran Sheriffuddin Shahrani Muhammad said Brunei faces the threat of losing a vibrant workforce as the number of diabetic children and teenagers rises.

In his talk at the launch of an awareness campaign on diabetes yesterday, he said diabetes is the third leading cause of death after cancer and heart disease in Brunei, and the risk of getting the disease increases with age.

"Diabetic patients as young as 12 who do not control their diabetes will contribute less, as they face complications of diabetes in 10 to 15 years at their most productive age," said Shahiran.

He did not provide figures of children identified as diabetic during the talk.

The officer further said that 95 per cent of the 15,972 diabetics in Brunei are suffering from the Type II disease that is caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors.

Diabetes is the second leading cause of patients being admitted to hospitals, he said, adding that there were 644 diabetes in-patients across the nation.

As part of complications caused by diabetes, the patient will go through renal dialysis as a result of kidney failure; losing vision due to retinopathy; amputations due to loss of blood supply and sensation of the limbs, heart failure and death, he added.

Health Minister Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof yesterday launched the awareness campaign on diabetes.

The event also witnessed a signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Health Promotion Centre and Butra HeidelbergCement

Shahiran said that under the agreement, Butra HeidelbergCement will provide funds for the awareness campaign and will contribute in the upcoming World Diabetes Day in November.

Signing on behalf of the centre was Director-general Dr Zainal Ariffin Hj Yahya, while Butra HeidelbergCement was represented by its General Manager Setiawan Purnama Hadi.

Butra HeidelbergCement also helped the Health Promotion Centre by bringing in experts to contribute ideas in making posters that would be more effective in promoting awareness on diabetes, Shahiran said.

The campaign aimed to enhance public awareness on various aspects of diabetes, such as causes of the disease, symptoms, effects and prevention through promoting a healthy lifestyle.

The campaign would focus on Type II Diabetes that does not require insulin and makes up the majority of diabetes cases in Brunei.