Community outreach to prevent diabetes in Hong Kong

Diabetes Hongkong as a case study

Authored by: Ronald C. W. Ma , Vincent T. F. Yeung

Routledge Handbook of Global Public Health in Asia

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415643825
eBook ISBN: 9781315818719
Adobe ISBN: 9781317817703


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There is an epidemic of diabetes in Asia [1, 2, 3]. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are an estimated 132 million individuals with diabetes living in the Western Pacific region, making this the area with the largest number of diabetes sufferers [4]. In Hong Kong, it is estimated that there are approximately half a million adults with diabetes [4]. As well as that, an epidemiology study done in Hong Kong found that around 60 per cent of adults affected with diabetes were undiagnosed [5]. The majority of diabetes patients in Hong Kong are under care in the public sector and 97 per cent of these patients have type 2 diabetes [6]. Diabetes not only inflicts one in five adults aged 55 to 64 years [5], but also affects a rising number of young adults, putting them at increased risk of diabetic complications. According to the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, diabetes accounts for more than 24,000 inpatient discharges and deaths each year, and is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the territory [7]. Diabetes remains one of the leading causes of blindness and currently accounts for approximately 50 per cent of patients entering dialysis programmes each year [8]. In this chapter, we outline the causes that contribute to the epidemic of diabetes in Hong Kong and discuss the importance of health literacy in the prevention of diabetes. We then use Diabetes Hongkong as a case study to analyse how a nongovernment organization can develop programmes and other community outreach initiatives to help raise the awareness of diabetes and combat the prevalence of the disease.

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