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Walk across four provinces to raise diabetes awareness

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From left: Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists (SLCE) President Dr. Manilka Sumanatilleke, Sri Lanka Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Initiative (SLDC) Project Lead Dr. Noel Somasundaram, District 306C1 Governor Lion Rupa Dheerasinghe, Sri Lanka Diabetes Federation (SLDF) President Dr. Prasad Katulanda and District 306C1 Project Chairman Lion Wasantha Gamage 


By Safna Malik

Several organisations in Sri Lanka yesterday joined five other South Asian countries in launching a 310 kilometre walk to fight diabetes and promote a healthier lifestyle among people in four provinces. 

Sri Lanka Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Initiative (SLDCI) along with the Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists (SLCE) have joined hands with Lions Clubs International, District 306 C1 to launch the ‘Walk for Diabetes, Run for Life’ campaign from 19 to 25 February. The walk will be from Trincomalee to Colombo, covering a distance of 310 kilometres to engage the younger generation in adopting healthy lifestyles to prevent obesity and diabetes in Sri Lanka. 

The walk will cover four provinces in Sri Lanka; Eastern, Central, Sabaragamuwa and Western. The walk began on 19 February in Trincomalee at the Hindu Cultural Hall, and it is expected to reach Dambulla today. Organisers hope to arrive at the Gatambe Sudharmaramaya in Kandy on Thursday, and Mawanella by the end of the week. The walk will end on 25 February at the Diyatha Uyana in Battaramulla.

There will be five screening centres along the journey at each milestone to provide free eye tests, blood pressure tests, and free advice to the public on how they can have a healthier life.  

“This generation has adopted a materialistic lifestyle with technology. Most of the kids after school tend to go for tuition classes then back home and are imprisoned due to technology. Physical activities are essential for a growing child, which emphasises the need to bring them out to the playgrounds to run and play. The campaign launch is to motivate the younger generation to do exercises and to take part in physical activities, especially running,” said Sri Lankan Diabetes Federation (SLDF) Chairman Dr. Noel Somasundaram while speaking at the media conference.

The endocrine societies from other nations including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan will launch this campaign in their country together to create awareness about obesity. One of the most important risk factors of obesity is diabetes. 

Speaking of sponsorship, Lions Club District 306 C1 Governor Rupa Dheerasinghe said, “Our club has rendered services in Sri Lanka to over 450,000 people affected by diabetes. Studies have shown more than 15% of adults in Sri Lanka have diabetes with urban areas having higher risk of about 20%. This is highly alarming for a developing country because the burden is on places of social and economic development.”

Lions Club has associated with many awareness programs in the past years including on eye care, relieving hunger, and infant cancers. This year they focused more public awareness to identify diabetes at the early stages and take steps to prevent the disease. 

Certificates and free t-shirts will be distributed to winners who participate along the journey and the organisers hope all participants will be motivated and encouraged towards a healthy lifestyle. 

Pix by Ruwan Walpola 


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