Learn more about diabetes at Blacktown community forum

Lions District 201N5’s Diabetes Chair, Mohan Nanayakkara with Western Sydney Diabetes Endocrinologist Rona Francisco and Primary Preventions Officer Aruni Ratnayake.

Diabetes remains one of the most significant health challenges for western Sydney.

Lions and Leos clubs of Lions District 201N5 (Sydney and Norfolk Island), Kings Langley, Sydney Sri Lankan, Blacktown City and Cherrybrook Leo clubs have come together to tackle the diabetes epidemic in western Sydney.

They are holding a free community forum on Thursday, June 2 at Blacktown Workers Club in collaboration with Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) and supported by Blacktown City Council, Blacktown Workers Club and Western Sydney Primary Health Network.

Western Sydney has a large multicultural population presenting a higher risk of them developing type 2 diabetes, guests can learn more from the experts about:

  • Early detection with a HbA1c test;
  • Lifestyle – diet, exercise, and nature;
  • GP Management Plan;
  • Specialist service with an Endocrinologist; and
  • Diabetes distress and mental health.

Lions District 201N5’s Diabetes Chair, Mohan Nanayakkara, said in line with the Lions Clubs International (LCI) a key global cause is to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and improve the lives of those with diabetes.

“Better knowledge will also benefit their families with greater freedom, better relationships, and emotional wellbeing,” Mr Nanayakkara said.

“Learning how to prevent or control diabetes will save money and time and help hospitals with fewer emergencies and visits as well.”                                         

WSD Diabetes Preventions Officer Aruni Ratnayake said Blacktown and Mount Druitt’s large proportion of residents with diabetes is due to poor lifestyle choices.

According to WSD, diabetes screening at the Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospital Emergency Departments in 2017 showed alarming rates of 17 per cent of people with diabetes and 29 per cent having pre- diabetes.

“This calls for urgent action in the Blacktown area as the region is now a diabetes hotspot with high rates of diabetes more than double that of Sydney’s eastern and northern suburbs,” Ms Ratnayake said.

WSD endocrinologist and presenter, Dr Rona Francisco, said it is estimated that 12 per cent of western Sydney residents (91,500 people) have diabetes.

“In addition, 38 per cent of the local population (290,000 people) are at ‘high risk’ of type 2 diabetes with pre-diabetes or early undiagnosed diabetes,” Dr Francisco said. “Unless we act, the problems will continue to worsen.”

Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale said greater awareness of diabetes was essential, especially in western Sydney.

“Blacktown City Council is committed to diabetes awareness and the promotion of healthy lifestyles to help tackle the scourge of diabetes in our city,” he said.

WSD is encouraging anyone who is at high risk to go to their GP and get tested for a free HbA1c test.

This includes adults in western Sydney who has more than one of the following risk factors:

  • A family history of diabetes;
  • An inactive lifestyle;
  • Is overweight or obese;
  • Had diabetes during a pregnancy;
  • Is 45 years old or older; and
  • Have a Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent, Chinese, South East Asian, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island background


Details: 6pm-8pm, Thursday, June 2 at The Ballroom, Blacktown Workers Club, 55 Campbell St, Blacktown.


Free registration: https:// www.eventbrite.com.au/e/free-diabetes-awareness-forum-tickets-328505166797

Inquiries: diabetes@lions.sydney; Mohan, 0400 024 052; or John, 0419 663 466.

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