Diabetes – A Growing and Silent Epidemic

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olatagaThis is an opportunity to be part of research – first time in Sydney , Australia – for Pacific Health .
Introduction.
Talofa lava – Diabetes – Maii Suga is becoming a big health problem in Sydney , Australia, NZ , and Samoa. We have an opportunity to be involved in research to make a difference !.
We are thankful of the overwhelming support of our Samoan Community Leaders .This health project has brought together many different Community leaders – with a common cause to show leadership great pride and generosity of spirit and to come together as one people.
We would like to acknowledge

Her Excellency – Ms Hinauri Petena Samoan High Commissioner – for her support and words of wisdom.
The Samoan Consulate – Mr Fonoti Manogiamanu Etuale Fonoti – strong leadership
La’u Samoa – Leaders – Mr Emani Alalatoa – President ,and his experienced committee.
The Samoan Fono- Mr Leilua Jerry Uelese and his experienced team .

The many dedicated Samoan diabetic patients- who have invested their time to attend and support the meetings
Samoan Community – leaders – from different fields – Social work , The media , Justice Service , Nursing profession
The Samoan Ministers of religion of the various Christian denominations.
If we have forgotten any other community leader – we humbly apologize.
This is a health initiative – driven by Powell St Family Practice in Yagoona – under the leadership Dr Olataga Alofivae- Doorbinnia and her team in Collaboration with the Western Sydney University – under the leadership – Professor Jennifer Reath and Professor David Simmons and their wonderful academic team to look at ways to research the burden of Diabetes on the Pacific community – a high risk group and find ways to address the barriers and from the research findings make strong recommendations to bring better health outcomes to our community with this serious chronic disease.
The University academic team have taken a great initiative – by inviting Samoan Community leaders form a Samoan Action Research Reference group, who will take part and comment and offer feedback on pacific health research projects , as they are developed and to make them useful for our island peoples living in Sydney and all of Australia .

This was first developed by a series of meetings with the Western Sydney University in July 2015 and early Dec 2015, by inviting many Samoan Community leaders and Samoan Diabetic patients.

Work to date ,

1. A summer studentship – involving a Samoan university student Ms Analise Vaovasa and under the mentorship of Prof David Simmons – completing a questionnaire to various community Samoan leaders on assessing ideas , attitudes to Diabetes and possible solutions to improve care for Diabetic patients living in Sydney .
She was able to present her findings to the Samoan Reference group on 18th Feb 2016 at Western Sydney University , and her work will be presented to the wider medical community as it is completed.
This presentation was well received and created great discussion and feed back.

2. A Community Chair person – was elected – Dr Paniani Patu GP and assistant Ms Audry Hill were elected and we congratulate them and will work closely with the university academic team , and will keep our Samoan Action research reference group – informed as research projects .

3. The Samoan Action research group – is like a long strong string – which has many loops in it till it reaches the end .Each research project is a loop – or short turn – to allow development and growth of the understanding of one aspect of the bigger problem, and it will need time and experience to complete.

4. A new research project – A Samoan Diabetes patient study – is currently being developed under the leadership of Dr Penny Abbot and Dr Yasin Shahab.- research and GP registrar
This will involve a questionnaire to be given to Samoan Diabetics attending Powell St Family Practice .
This will be presented to the Samoan Action research Group for comment and feedback .

5. Finally , the Samoan Action Research reference Group – has open membership and we welcome all willing to take part – next meeting to be notified.

6. If you wish to take part – please contact us Dr Olataga Alofivae- Doorbinnia at Powell St Family practice and we will be delighted to have more persons attend the surgery and be part of good research data to help to identify , and diagnose serious diseases such as Diabetes and work to make changes to live well and longer in our community .
Please support the work of Powell St Family practice and all the Samoan community leaders and other health professionals to fight and reduce this disease and be part of a great health project .
Tofa Soifua and Ia Manuia.

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