Health Ambassadors Ready to Roll Out Anti-Diabetes Campaign

In Papua New Guinea, initiative seeks to save lives by fighting diabetes.

Tico Banasi, Adventist Record
Health Ambassadors Ready to Roll Out Anti-Diabetes Campaign
The lead ambassadors. [Photo: Adventist Record]

More than 130 people graduated as 10,000 Toes ambassadors after attending a three-day summit held at Pacific Adventist University (PAU) in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), from October 21 to 23, 2022.

Learning how to run health expos and community health checks, the new ambassadors are now ready to assist the campaign in fighting against the rise of diabetes in PNG.

Following the three-day summit, further training was given to lead ambassadors from local missions in PNG — which includes mission presidents, health directors, and health professionals.

The five-day training focused on two intervention programs — ELIA Wellness and Live More Abundantly — and equipped leaders with tools, resources, and skills to help roll out the 10,000 Toes Campaign across the country.

“It is exciting to have the debut 10,000 Toes Wellness Summit take place and the training of the health directors in the Live More Abundantly program to help turn the tide of diabetes and other chronic diseases,” 10,000 Toes Campaign coordinator Pamela Townend said. “10,000 Toes have been planning this event in Papua New Guinea for a long time and are thrilled to take the important health message to its communities.”

The team is from Fiji, Australia, and Papua New Guinea and led by PNG Union Mission health director Zachary Lipen, South Pacific Division (SPD) health ministries director Geraldine Przybylko, Trans-Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) regional health director George Kwong, and associate regional ambassador in Fiji Mary-Clare, with the support from PAU under the leadership of vice-chancellor Lohi Matainaho. They said the program turned out to be a success.

Przybylko was excited to see so many getting involved. “The vision and strategy of the 10,000 Toes Campaign was shared at the 10,000 Toes Wellness Summit, and it was exciting to see administration, health professionals, pastors, and members embrace it and be trained as 10,000 Toes ambassadors committed to champion the blended ministry of health, healing, and hope,” she said.

The SPD health leader spent two days working with Matainaho and his team to develop the business plan for an on-campus lifestyle medicine center. The proposal was presented to the government and well received.

“It was so encouraging to get the government’s support for creating a Lifestyle Medicine Centre of Excellence that uses a whole-person approach [and] model that positively impacts PNG and can be rolled out across the country. The government was also supportive of the 10,000 Toes strategy and transforming churches into wellness hubs to educate and empower the community to whole-person health,” Przybylko said.

PNG is one of ten countries in the South Pacific region where the campaign is helping in the fight against diabetes.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

Tico Banasi, Adventist Record

Tico Banasi, Adventist Record