WSLHD Close the Gap event encourages diabetes awareness and education

Walking up from the car park at Whalan Reserve, a flurry of activity could be spotted on a nearby field – tents and information booths lined up with lots of smiling faces standing by, ready to chat all things diabetes.

At this Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Close the Gap event, consumers were invited for a yarn about their health, provided with some take-home information and even encouraged to participate in an on-the-spot diabetes screening.

Attendees networked and chatted in the sunshine with members of their community as Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) and WSLHD staff offered resources and guidance.

One service offered was free finger prick tests to measure blood glucose levels (also known as a HbA1c test) and detect pre-diabetes and diabetes.

“Today is a first step towards closing the gap. We are engaging with the community and explaining the importance of early detection for pre-diabetes,” Western Sydney Diabetes Acting Diabetes Prevention Manager, Aruni Ratnayake said.

Close the Gap Day, which was held this week, focuses on the importance of our nation’s strategy aimed at achieving health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We are encouraging people to make some lifestyle changes to help potentially reverse their pre-diabetes status, and give them hope that they can make meaningful changes to their health. We’ve also been giving out some resources for clients to take home, which they seem to have appreciated.

Nurse Practitioner at Mount Druitt Community Health Centre Diabetes Clinic, Anandhi Murugesan

“It’s also been an important event to help networking – not just with consumers, but with other services available in the community. Then we can work together and suggest other services that our consumers might like to check out too,” Nurse Practitioner at Mount Druitt Community Health Centre Diabetes Clinic, Anandhi Murugesan said.

For consumers like Logan, visiting the booths today meant he was able to get a bit more insight into his health.

“Today has been really fun. I’ve been able to pick up a lot of information and there is a lot of good stuff available here about services in the area,” he told The Pulse.

WSD was established in response to the growing threat diabetes poses to our community’s health and wellbeing and is led by Western Sydney Local Health District and Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WentWest), Diabetes Australia and Department of Planning and Environment to address the Western Sydney diabetes hotspot.

The community is encouraged to go to their GP and get a HbA1c blood test if they:

  • Have a family history of diabetes;
  • Have an inactive lifestyle;
  • Are overweight or obese;
  • Had diabetes during a pregnancy; or
  • Have a Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent, African, Asian, South Asian, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island background.