Updated 16 April 2013

Isidingo's Ma Agnes tackles diabetes epidemic

Keketso Semoko, better known as hit SA soapie Isidingo’s Ma Agnes, is taking on a new and very important role - as a Changing Diabetes Ambassador.

Keketso Semoko, better known as hit SA soapie Isidingo’s Ma Agnes, is taking on a new and very important role - as a Changing Diabetes® Ambassador.

Keketso, who is diagnosed with diabetes herself, has first-hand experience of what it means to be living with the condition, and wants to play an active role in addressing the growing diabetes epidemic in South Africa.

Few realise that about 3.5 million people - 17.5% of the adult population - are living with the condition. Worse still, medical professionals estimate that only 50% of these have been diagnosed, and that only 25% are receiving appropriate treatment.

The incidence of diabetes in the general population is also rising at an alarming rate, with prevalence rates expected to outstrip HIV/Aids prevalence rates by 2020.

Recognise the symptoms

"Many people fear a diabetes diagnosis," says Keketso, "but the truth is it's a very manageable condition. Early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, regular monitoring and a healthy lifestyle are, however, essential if those living with the condition are to have long, active and fulfilled lives. So everyone needs to know how to recognise the symptoms, how to go about being tested, and how to manage the condition if they have it.

"It's for this reason that I want to be part of Changing Diabetes®. I want to be part of educating people about the condition and helping them to manage it effectively, if even one person with diabetes goes undiagnosed and untreated, it’s one too many."

Changing Diabetes® is nation-wide communications and community health programme sponsored by Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company. It represents Novo Nordisk South Africa’s contribution to the global Unite Against Diabetes campaign, and includes a number of education, diagnosis, treatment and outreach programmes.

'Healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be dull'

Keketso’s first engagement as a Changing Diabetes® Ambassador will be to host the Novo Nordisk Diabetes Media Cookout, which is scheduled to take place in Cape Town this week.

Participants will be able to join Keketso and Masterchef 2012 runner-up Sue-Ann Allen, to create nutritious and healthy meals. She will also speak about her experiences of being diagnosed and living with diabetes.

"The most important message is that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be daunting and dull. Today, we created tasty and innovative recipes which also promote a healthy lifestyle."

For more information on diabetes visit the Novo Nordisk website or the Changing Diabetes ZA Facebook page.

- (Changing Diabetes press release)

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