Turtle Tower shines blue in Hanoi to mark World Diabetes Day

By Quynh Trang   November 14, 2016 | 01:40 am PT
Over the past ten years, the number of diabetes patients in Vietnam has risen the fastest in the world.

The Turtle Tower, an iconic symbol of Hanoi in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, shone blue for the first time last night in front of hundreds of people.

The event was to mark the World Diabetes Day 2016 campaign led by the World Health Organization and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Iconic monuments in cities such as Copenhagen, Munich and Kuala Lumpur were also shining bright to mark the occasion.

Turtle Tower lit for November 13 evening to celebrate World Diabetes Day. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang

Turtle Tower was lit up on November 13 to mark World Diabetes Day. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang

Experts from the Ministry of Health said that over the past ten years, the number of diabetics in Vietnam has risen faster than anywhere else in the world by an estimated 211 percent. Diabetes is expected to increase by 54 per cent worldwide over the next 20 years. In 2015, 3.5 million Vietnamese people were already living with diabetes.

Diabetes is a silent killer that, according to International Diabetes Federation Atlas 2015, has caused up to 5 million deaths worldwide - more than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined. In 2040, one in every 10 adults will have diabetes.

Although 70 percent of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or postponed via a healthy lifestyle, undiagnosed diabetes can lead to blindness, cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, limb loss and death. Nevertheless, half of those with diabetes remain undiagnosed.

“By lighting up Hoan Kiem Lake, we hope to increase awareness of the illness itself, and to encourage people to be screened early as untreated diabetes can lead to unnecessary complications,” said Charlotte Laursen, Danish Ambassador to Vietnam.

“The increase in diabetes worldwide does not seem to be stopping, and we are obliged to do anything we can to prevent its development,” said the ministry.

In the last four years, the National Diabetes Care partnership program between Ministry of Health and Novo Nordisk has screened 30,000 patients, trained 2,000 physicians and provided free insulin -- a hormone used to treat diabetes -- for 20 poor children.

Senior diabetes patients perform a joyful group dance. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang

Senior diabetes patients perform a group dance. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang

The event, held by the Embassy of Denmark and Vietnam's Ministry of Health, also featured dance performances by diabetes patients, many of whom are over 60, to advocate a healthy lifestyle while living with the disease.

Related news:

> Diabetes cases reach 422 million as poorer countries see steep rises

> Vietnamese diet: Too much salt and not enough fruit and veg

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