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Seventh_Day Adventist Church Presidents to walk Kokoda Track

The President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific, Pastor Glenn Townend, and the President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea, Pastor Kepsie Elodo, will walk the Kokoda Track this month (July 15-24) as part of a group of trekkers from Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. They are doing it to raise awareness and funds for the 10,000 Toes Campaign, an initiative that aims to stamp out diabetes in PNG and other South Pacific nations.

During the walk, the group will be handing out diabetes screening kits to communities along the track. They will also be conducting health tests and making health presentations.

The sad reality is that type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels in the South Pacific, affecting 1 in 4 people. Papua New Guinea has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world.

The impact is both shocking and devastating. Diabetes is associated with many serious complications affecting the feet, eyes, kidneys and heart. It’s the leading cause of amputations in the South Pacific — 560 amputations are performed weekly. That’s more than 80 amputations every day or 1 every 20 minutes!

But there is hope. The 10,000 Toes Campaign has three key strategies:

Recognising that early detection is vital, it aims to provide screening kits to communities so that diabetes can be detected and treatment started promptly.

An education campaign for Pacific islanders will promote the benefits of healthy living, including nutrition, exercise, good sleep, hygiene and fresh air.

Local health professionals will be upskilled to diagnose and treat Type 2 diabetes early and better manage the complications.

The 10,000 Toes Campaign is all about saving people’s toes — and their lives. It’s about raising awareness and support, and tackling this issue head-on. We believe that it will go a long way towards preventing and reversing the incidence of diabetes in South Pacific communities.

The 10,000 Toes Campaign is a joint initiative of Adventist Health and the Adventist Development & Relief Agency Australia. For more details: 10000toes.com

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