Western Sydney Filipino Forum set to tackle diabetes

A diabetes seminar to educate Filipino residents in western Sydney on how to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes while embracing the Filipino culture will be held on Saturday 19 June. 

Funded by the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), the seminar at West HQ, Rooty Hill has been initiated through Diabetes NSW & ACT and is supported by the Western Sydney Diabetes Filipino Working Group.

It will target those who are living with, at risk of, or supporting someone living with diabetes in the Filipino community.

“Filipinos are at high risk of developing diabetes, contributed partly by our traditional diet and lifestyle,” endocrinologist Dr Rona Francisco said.

Endocrinologist Dr Rona Francisco will speak about diabetes and its complications, the risk factors, screening and diagnosis, the management options including lifestyle changes and the various medications available.

“As the main modifiable risk factor is our cultural diet, one of our goals will be to educate the community on how to prepare healthier versions of our traditional meals.”

Last October, Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) organised a Western Sydney Filipino Leaders meeting to highlight the high rates of diabetes in the Filipino community.

WSD diabetes prevention officer Aruni Ratnayake said more than 70 health practitioners and community leaders attended the online meeting and the Western Sydney Diabetes Filipino Working Group was established.

The seminar will be hosted by working group member and clinical nurse specialist, Celestina Shori, with presentations by exercise physiologist, Rhea Balmaceda and fellow working group members, endocrinologist Dr Rona Francisco; WSD diabetes educator at Westmead Hospital, Bernadette Sadsad, and dietitian Dean Paningbatan.

“As a proud member of the Filipino community I know there is a crucial need to raise awareness about the prevalence of diabetes and to educate the members of our community on how to manage their diabetes to help minimise the risk of developing complications,” WSD diabetes educator Bernadette Sadsad said.

Western Sydney Diabetes Filipino Working Group member and WSD diabetes educator at Westmead Hospital, Bernadette Sadsad, will discuss complication screening and the Diabetes Annual Cycle of Care.

Katie Allison, Diabetes NSW and ACT’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) project officer, said the seminar is a unique opportunity to bring together a variety of health professionals from the Filipino community to discuss practical ways to manage or prevent diabetes.

The event will embrace Filipino culture with tailored information, including practical tips about food,” Ms Allison said.

“This event will also educate residents about how to link in with other local services and access ongoing support.”

When: 11am-2pm, Saturday, June 19
Location: West HQ, 33 Railway St, Rooty Hill
Bookings essential: Call the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 or visit diabetesnsw.com.au/events.
Inquiries: Aruni Ratnayake, Aruni.Ratnayake@health.nsw.gov.au, languages@diabetesnsw.com.au or call the NDSS helpline on 1800 637 700.
Registration is essential.