The call for businesses to get involved in prioritising the health of their workforces is loud and blue ahead of World Diabetes Day. Here’s what the experts think businesses can do better:
Africa (09 November 2023) — According to the World Health Organisation, around 24 million adults are living with diabetes on our continent. This figure is projected to rise by 129% to 55 million by 2045, which is why this World Diabetes Day, the call is loud and blue for accessibility to care.
In fact, access to diabetes care is the theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day (14 November). Amongst other important elements, conversations around access collectively spotlight the millions of people who do not have support, care or education about their conditions, not least because of the costs involved.
To this, businesses and corporations are being pushed to get involved in taking care of their workers’ health.
“Corporates have a fundamental role to play here, not only in creating awareness but also ensuring employees with diabetes are supported on multiple organ systems and multiple aspects of a person’s life making it essential that the individual receives wholistic support, including psychological support,” says Dr Chris van Straten.
It is far from a one-size-fits-all diagnosis and impacts different people in different ways. As such, businesses are being told by experts to open themselves to a willingness of understanding toward the complicated nature of diabetes.
“Diabetes can impact an employee’s ability to engage in everyday activities, especially if they have developed complications. It is important to understand the needs of your employees with diabetes and ensure they are supported as much as possible,” adds Dr van Straten.
Considering that many full-time employees still spend the majority of their waking hours at work, workplace settings create a big opportunity for responsive action.
Education on nutrition for all employees, guidance on self-monitoring and providing access and flexibility for regular checkups are just some of the ways businesses can give their employees a helping hand.
“Diabetes is often called the ‘silent killer’ and businesses need to start prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of their workforce beyond ticking the box activities. They need to enable conversations, dispel stigma and introduce tailored initiatives which everyone can benefit from. With the right education, skills, motivation, tools, and social support, organisations can make a fundamental impact not only to their bottom-line, but to their employees, their community and in the broader fight against diabetes,” Dr van Straten concludes.