13 September 2006

SA journalist wins diabetes prize

South African and Portuguese journalists won the Novo Nordisk Media Prize 2006 for best article in lay press and best TV feature about diabetes, respectively.

South African and Portuguese journalists won the Novo Nordisk Media Prize 2006 for best article in lay press and best TV feature about diabetes, respectively.

The awards were given by President and CEO of Novo Nordisk, Lars Rebien Sørensen, during a ceremony held on 12 September in Copenhagen.

Every 10 seconds a person dies from a diabetes-related illness. The epidemic growth of diabetes around the world urgently calls for an increase in the level of awareness of the disease. Communication is key in achieving this.

Prize instituted in 2003
Novo Nordisk therefore instituted an international prize in 2003, the Novo Nordisk Media Prize, to reward excellence in reporting on diabetes in the lay press. This year, TV programmes were also included in the competition.

The winners, Tom Nevin, Carlos Filipe Espinho Rodrigues and Vítor Jorge Ribeiro de Caldas, competed along with writers and journalists from around the world, submitting more than 200 articles and 15 TV features to Novo Nordisk. In addition to the honour, each winning contribution gets a money prize of 10,000 euros.

“Novo Nordisk is grateful that journalists all over the world contribute to raising awareness around the need for prioritising diabetes and for urgently dealing with the social, human and economic effects of this disease,” says Lars Rebien Sørensen, president and CEO of Novo Nordisk.

Concern over diabetes time bomb in SA
The prize for the best article went to ‘Type 2, Time Bomb’, which was published in South African magazine Men’s Health. Reporter Tom Nevin expresses his deep concern about the type 2 diabetes epidemic hitting his country, especially among the young people. He judges the scale of the epidemic and identifies the following factors contributing to such a situation:

  • the youth’s sedentary lifestyle
  • the lack of proper diet and exercise
  • the lack of understanding of the severity of this “invisible disease” in a country where the Government has already its hands full in dealing with other pandemics (HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria).

Tom Nevin is very satisfied with having “contributed to raising awareness around this disease” and believes that, in order to contain the pandemic, “all stakeholders should join forces to find a rational solution to the problems. The situation calls for concerted action”.

The prize for the best TV feature was given to the documentary Magic Mountain (Montanha Mágica), co-produced by Portuguese TV reporters Carlos Filipe Espinho Rodrigues and Vítor Jorge Ribeiro de Caldas, and broadcast on the main private Portuguese channel SIC-TV.

Portuguese TV programme wins
They follow, full of admiration, a group of young Portuguese people with diabetes whose strong will enables them to overcome their physical limitations and face an extreme challenge: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

The reporters are convinced that more and more information is necessary to fight diabetes and welcome that Portuguese media “are giving increasingly more attention to a healthy diet and exercise so as to limit the causes of type 2 diabetes”.

Why the prizes were awarded
Dr Simon Heller, chairman of the international jury, explains the decision of the jury: “Tom Nevin communicated the essence of what it means to have diabetes and gave the readership some understanding of just how difficult it can be to maintain major changes in lifestyle. Carlos Rodrigues and Vítor Caldas not only showed how people with diabetes could undertake almost any physical challenge that could be completed by someone without diabetes. They also demonstrated just how tough it could be for people with diabetes to attempt such a challenge. The ability of the three reporters to make a strong emotional connection convinced the jury instantaneously.”

Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care.

Read more:
Diabetes Centre.


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