To mark world health day in Cairo, The Embassy of Switzerland supports Awareness-Raising Event on Maintaining Healthy Lifestyles and Addressing Diabetes

CAIRO, Egypt – Diabetes is a growing health issue in Egypt. At the same time, healthy lifestyles, fitness and a balanced diet can prevent or delay the outbreak of this illness. Diabetes is this year’s main topic of the World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April, and the Embassy of Switzerland is supporting an all-day event in Cairo comprising diverse workshops, training sessions and panel discussions to raise awareness on maintaining healthy lifestyles and addressing the illness.

The event, which took place at the Children’s Cancer Hospital, commenced with a workshop on fitness headed by Egypt’s Olympic boxing champion Mohamed Reda followed by a workshop on healthy cooking and eating by Swiss Chef Markus Iten. A panel discussion, titled “Enabling People to Lead Healthy Lives,” took place afterwards attended by H.E. Swiss Ambassador to Egypt, Markus Leitner, medical experts, youth ministry representatives, and a diabetic patient.

The event was open to the public and health care providers in Egypt and seeks to inform them about improved eating and fitness habits that are beneficial to everyone but that can also specifically help diabetic patients to prevent further health complications from taking place.

 Knowledge is Power

A large percentage of the world population aren’t well informed about the dangers diabetes impose to the overall health so what is diabetes?

 Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

According to 2014 statistics of the World Health Organisation, 9 percent of adults 18 years and older had diabetes. The vast majority of diabetes cases worldwide are type 2 diabetes, one of two forms of the disease. This type is largely the result of excess body weight, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets. In Egypt, almost 1 out of 5 adults suffer from diabetes.

 “Promoting health awareness is crucial to improving the quality of people’s lives. With the growing number of people affected by diabetes, the World Health Day provides an ideal opportunity to promote healthy food, fitness and weight control,” said Markus Leitner, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Egypt.

The Children’s Cancer Hospital was selected for the event because cancer is a chronic disease, and patients suffering from any chronic illness (such as cancer, diabetes, or obesity) share common difficulties. Selecting this venue also helps shed light on the diligent work that the hospital is performing, and better acquainting people with it.

Following World Health Day, Swiss health expert, Dr. Anbreen Slama-Chaudhry, who is a family physician and an expert in chronic diseases management based in Switzerland, will also hold a training workshop for doctors at the Swiss Club in Cairo on Friday 8 April. The workshop’s goal is to share ways of improving management of patients with chronic illnesses.

Switzerland’s contribution to World Health Day in Cairo this year falls within the framework of its wider support to Egypt’s health infrastructure sector since the late 1990s. This includes its programs to upgrade radiology services at hospitals of the Ministry of Health nationwide as well as programs to restructure national blood transfusion services. Switzerland is also launching this year a project to improve healthcare hazardous waste management in Egypt’s Dakahliya governorate.