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14 November 2016​

1.       Nearly 50,000 of us in Brunei Darussalam are living with diabetes and the number is growing. Thanks to access to appropriate diabetes care, education and essential medicines, many of those living with diabetes are still able to live life to the fullest. Today, 14 November, Brunei Darussalam together with other countries and the World Health Organization commemorate World Diabetes Day to raise awareness on the disease, encourage those battling the challenges and complexity of living with it, and to give assurance to those affected by diabetes, both patients and families, that they are not alone in the fight.

2.           Diabetes is a group of disorders characterized by chronic high blood sugars and on its own, if untreated, can cause diabetic comas. The impact of diabetes goes beyond just high sugar in the blood. Among adults in Brunei Darussalam, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. Further, people with diabetes are also two to four times more likely to experience heart attacks and strokes.

3.       In Brunei Darussalam, diabetes continues to be one of the leading causes of death, after cancer and heart disease. 12.4% of adults in Brunei Darussalam have diabetes. Research carried out by the Ministry of Health show that worryingly, 44% of diabetes cases in the country are undiagnosed. This means that more than 20,000 people in Brunei are living with diabetes but have not yet presented to the health services and therefore, do not even know that they have the condition.

4.           This is why, in the fight against diabetes, the Ministry of Health focuses in particular on the prevention and early detection of the disease, in line with the theme of this year's World Diabetes Day 2016, "Eyes on Diabetes". The focus is on promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications.

5.           Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. Weight management is the best thing you can do to prevent the development of diabetes. The most important measure that you can take for yourself and your family to prevent diabetes is ensuring that you eat a healthy diet. Along with a healthy diet, we need to exercise regularly, we should aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five times a week. These are the choices we can make, and these are the choices that will help you build a healthier life.


6.         The most important thing that you can do if you are at risk of diabetes by being overweight is to get yourself tested by a doctor. Visit a GP at a Health Centre and discuss your concerns. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is not too late. The disease can be controlled with:

  •  Weight loss through healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Medication (if needed). Medication should not be seen as a license to continue eating an unhealthy diet.


7.           For our part, the Ministry of Health – in line with our three strategic priorities which are to enhance the quality of service delivery, prevent and control non-communicable diseases, and to inculcate that health is everyone's business – will work closely with various stakeholders including government, non-government sectors and support group members to continue to engage with patients and the public to prevent, control and treat the occurrence of diabetes in Brunei Darussalam.


8.           With that, we reaffirm our commitment to raise the awareness to try and reduce the burden of diabetes. There is no doubt that the most effective way to deal with diabetes is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Prevention is the key and playing our part to impart knowledge on others is crucial in order to win this fight.


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