10,000 Toes Campaign recognised by World Health Organization

Fiji Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Dr Davina Nand, head of wellness at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, 10,000 Toes regional ambassador George Kwong, SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend, World Health Organization Pacific director Shelley Wallace, and Trans Pacific Union president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga.

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The 10,000 Toes Campaign, an initiative of Adventist Health, has received the 2022 Healthy Island Award in the Best Practice Category from the World Health Organization for its work in Fiji.  

The award was presented today by Fiji Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete to South Pacific Division (SPD) president Pastor Glenn Townend, who is currently in Fiji to meet with church leaders and members.

The award recognises the work that 10,000 Toes is doing in helping to address the epidemic of lifestyle diseases, particularly diabetes, in the Pacific.

“It is a privilege to be acknowledged for our work in this area of lifestyle medicine,” said 10,000 Toes coordinator for the South Pacific, Pam Townend, “and we know this would not have been possible without our dedicated ambassadors and the organisations that support us.” 

The Fiji chapter of 10,000 Toes has more than 2000 ambassadors working to turn the tide on diabetes, according to regional ambassador George Kwong.

“We currently have a number of wellness hubs where health screening and Lifestyle Intervention Programs are delivered. Our goal is to have over 100 wellness hubs operating by the end of 2025.”

Mrs Townend said the 10,000 Toes Campaign is not only in Fiji but has a presence in six other countries. The campaign currently operates five mobile clinics, has trained more than 4000 ambassadors, upskilled 101 professionals, provided over 954 screening kits and tested over 10,000 people for diabetes.

“Our work is not over until every village in the Pacific has had an opportunity to go on a health journey,” said Mrs Townend, “and we look forward to this challenge.”

Campaign coordinators believe that when evidence-based lifestyle medicine is integrated with conventional medicine it can prevent, arrest and, in some cases, reverse lifestyle diseases.

“Educating and empowering people to make positive lifestyle choices and experience whole-person health is core to our philosophy,” said Geraldine Przybylko, Adventist Health strategy leader for the SPD.

“Whole-person health can be defined through the seven dimensions of wellness: emotionally thriving, physically energised, socially connected, vocationally enriched, spiritually empowered, intellectually engaged and environmentally attuned.

“Not only will lives and limbs be saved, but people’s lives will be transformed as the 10,000 Toes Campaign partners with the World Health Organization, governments and organisations to turn the tide on diabetes and other chronic diseases.

“We invite you to be part of this story to bring health, healing and hope to the South Pacific like never before,” added Mrs Przybylko. 

Current statistics show that every 20 minutes someone in the South Pacific has a limb amputated due to diabetes and this is having terrible ramifications on local communities. Livelihoods are being affected, families impacted and governments burdened.    

For more information visit 10000toes.com

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