Bank Gaborone has launched the second edition of the diabetes apple project which is one of their Corporate Social Responsibility. The project will officially kick off on the 15th May and run until 15 July 2019.
As the cliche goes; "eating one apple a day keeps the doctors away", the Diabetes Apple Project was named because of the central role of healthy eating in controlling and preventing non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes.
Speaking at the official launch the Managing Director for Bank Gaborone Sybrand Cotzee, said in the first edition of the project in 2014, they partnered with Spar to sell loose apples at their branches and in Spar stores across the country. This year a bag of apples will be sold at the affordable price of P15.95 but will not be sold directly from Bank Gaborone branches. "Instead, branches and departments will be selling vouchers that clients and the general public can redeem for a bag of apples at Spar stores countrywide. We also welcome members of the public to make cash donations at any of our 11 branches around the country", he said.
Cotzee also said that funds raised will be donated to the Diabetes Association of Botswana and used to go towards raising awareness around the causes and symptoms of the disease and how it can be prevented as well as the treatment of those living with the disease. He added in the first edition of the project they managed to raise a total of P140, 000 and this year they aim to raise at least P400, 000.00.
Cotzee emphasized that Bank Gaborone has taken a stance against Diabetes as health indicators show that it is becoming a growing concern in Botswana. "As a bank, our commitment will always to be a connector of positive change in our communities, by strengthening our relations with stakeholders in order for our donations and sponsorships to reach out to have a lasting impact," he said.
Corztzee urged Batswana to purchase vouchers in all of our branches or apples directly from Tsetseng Spar stores country wide as well as making donations towards the fight against diabetes.
Meanwhile outgoing Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Biggie Butale who was the guest speaker said the ministry is committed to giving patients high-quality world-class care through access to specialist care, free medication and free access to the laboratory investigations.
He indicated that there are Diabetes centers of excellence dedicated to the care of patients with diabetes namely the Donga clinic in Francistown and the Block 6 clinic in Gaborone.
Butale added that the funds raised from the project from April 2014 has helped the Diabetes Association of Botswana to increase their annual diabetes camps for the children and youth living with diabetes from 1 camp per year to 2 camps per year, with one catering for children from the south of Botswana and the other one for children from the north of Botswana.
He said since the last launch of the diabetes apple project, Diabetes Association of Botswana has managed to conduct 7 diabetes youth camps catering for a total of 590 attendances by the children and the young adults. In addition to running the camps, the funds raised from the Apple Project had enabled the Diabetes Association of Botswana to support and care for people with diabetes in Botswana.
Diabetes mellitus has become a global concern as the prevalence has gone up in the last decades due to several factors, among them increased level of urbanization, longevity and sedentary lifestyles. The statistics from the International Diabetes Federation shows that in the year 2017, there were 425 million adults aged 20-79 years living with diabetes worldwide and that the number will increase to 629 million by the year 2045 if no intervention is made. In the same year, 2017, there were more than 1,106,500 children living with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes caused 4 million deaths in the year 2017.
Moreover Butale has said that more resources were channeled to fight communicable diseases while little attention was paid to the Non Communicable Diseases (NCD). "As the Ministry of Health and Wellness, time has arrived for us to act now to ensure that non-communicable diseases are not left out on our approach to health care in our country. Therefore, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has taken the initiative to integrate the Non-Communicable Diseases with the National AIDS Council (NACA) to form a strong unit which will tackle both communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases, he said.