Ministry for Pacific Peoples — HOPE programme aims to curb diabetes statistics for Pacific peoples HOPE programme aims to curb diabetes statistics for Pacific peoples Skip to content

HOPE programme aims to curb diabetes statistics for Pacific peoples

HOPE programme aims to curb diabetes statistics for Pacific peoples

  • 12 Sep 2022
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Ana Kivalu (pictured) is one of eight recent graduates of the inaugural Diabetes New Zealand HOPE Pacific Youth Train the Trainer programme, who are about to embark on a journey of inspiring the health goals of Pacific Aotearoa.

The 28-year-old New Zealand-born Tongan is based in Otara and says everything she does is for her village.

So, when the opportunity arose South Seas Healthcare Youth Development Lead to join the HOPE Pacific Youth programme, she jumped at another chance to serve her community.  

“Our team thought the programme would be awesome as our Youth Services revolves around young peoples’ needs…a lot of Pacific young people grow up and realise they’ve been diagnosed with an illness, such as diabetes, when it is too late,” Ana says.

“We were really keen to bring that awareness into our community.”

The Economic and Social Cost of Type 2 Diabetes report, published last year by Diabetes New Zealand and its partners, projects a quarter of Pacific people in New Zealand are on track to become type-2 diabetics by 2040.

This comes on top of the fact diabetes already strikes Pacific people at twice the rate of the general population.

It states, there is an urgent need to recognise diabetes as a government health priority and to invest in future prevention, treatment and care.

The disease not only affects all aspects of peoples’ lives, but the economic impact is huge – the report puts the annual bill from the chronic medical condition at $NZ2.1 billion.

Left unabated, the cost is pegged to blow out to $3.5 billion, a 63 percent increase, by 2040.

Ana and her fellow graduates, who recently completed six weeks of online training, hope to break the cycle and high rates of type 2 diabetes in Pacific communities.

At an event on September 10, the graduates’ efforts were recognised by Pacific Peoples and Associate Health Minister Hon Aupito William Sio.

He also applauded the Diabetes New Zealand – Auckland Branch for getting the South Auckland initiative targeting Pacific youth up and running, with support from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ COVID-19 Community Fund. 

The training allows the graduates to share their knowledge about diabetes with Pacific youth, and educate them, giving them tools to prevent the disease, and live healthy, prosperous lives.

“Online modules allowed for us to complete the training from the comfort of our offices or our homes which was awesome and the content was easy to understand,” Ana explains.

“I hope through this programme I can make positive changes to my lifestyle, walking the talk,” she adds.

“We aim to deliver the Hope programme so young people can walk away feeling like they are aware of type 2 diabetes, how they can prevent it, not only for themselves but for their Kainga and also becoming HOPE Pacific Youth Champions for their own village and by passing on what they have learnt.”

Visit the Diabetes NZ website for more information on the HOPE programme.