Yesterday, we told you about the Caribbean Diabetes Initiative and the Belize Diabetes Association of New York which has teamed up to send 23 specialists to Belize for 3 days of clinics and a symposium. But they aren’t here to heal the diabetes afflicted as much as they are to preach prevention. Courtney Weatherburne found out more:…

Courtney Weatherburne

"In the 2013 study conducted by the International Diabetes Federation,over 24000 Belizeans suffer from diabetes. It is an alarming figured and what is even more unsettling is that the numbers are growing. Lisel Hope, the president of the Caribbean Diabetes Initiative explains that education is key to arresting the epidemic."

Lisel Hope, President of the Caribbean Diabetes Initiative

"We really want to help the people of Belize with diabetes at even those at risk for diabetes. So we're here to help inform, educate the community about the risk factors for diabetes and actions that they can take to prevent diabetes from happening. And also those who already have diabetes we hope to help them manage their diabetes. In addition to that we are here with medication, so we hope to treat and screen people maybe you don't even know they have diabetes. Lastly we would like to also help work with the healthcare providers by providing educational seminars for them as well."

We spoke to 3 of the specialists about how they will use their expertise while in Belize

Dr. Steven Wells, Podiatrist

“When working with Vanessa in the Belize Diabetes Association to try to help people understand that having diabetes can cause you to lose your limbs and a lot of people not a way to lose your limbs can actually cause you to lose your life. We find a statistic that once you lose one leg within a short period of time you lose each other and shortly after that you die. So foot ulcers, foot infections problems at the foot of very serious and you need to draw attention and see how we can prevent that.”

Suzette Williams, Nurse Practitioner and Diabetes Educator

“My main focus is to actually educate the public, educate who ever I can on the complications of diabetes, management of diabetes and some other prevention of diabetes.
So in Belize I am going to be focusing a lot on children and adolescence.”

Keisha Carrington, Family Nurse Practitioner

"During my visit here I'll be presenting about gestational diabetes. So the women who are pregnant and find out during the pregnancy that they develop diabetes as well as the women who are already diabetic and who become pregnant. So for them to understand what they need to look out for, what their risk factors are controlling the blood sugar as well as on high blood pressure screening."

Dr. Samy Mcfarlene professor of medicine and endocrinology from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York told us that prevention is the key in kicking diabetes

Dr. Samy Mcfarlene, Professor of Medicine from SUNY Downstate

“And it turns out that it is a preventable disease, it is not inevitable. If we maintain physical activity, if we reframe from eating highly concentrated sugars and fat and high caloric food. And if we lose weight, for people who are obese. We can actually prevent and delay diabetes. Some people are good citizens, they do everything by the books and they still get diabetes, so what are you going to do about that. There are medications that can prevent diabetes, but lifestyle and exercise it prevents diabetes by about 67% or so.”

The event started today at the ITVET and concludes on Friday. The specialists will be traveling to Stann Creek Ecumenical High School tomorrow. Screening and Treatment is available for the public.

Channel 7