Nutrition program and Makhzoumi Foundation engage the public on World Diabetes Day
Students of the Nutrition and Dietetics-Coordinated Program conduct awareness raising campaign targeted at the wider community.
Students and faculty members of LAU’s four year Nutrition and Dietetics- Coordinated Program set up a stand at the entrance of Spinney’s supermarket in Beirut’s Jnah district on World Diabetes Day to offer testing and advice to shoppers.
The international day, which falls annually on 14 November, was this year assigned the theme ‘Women and Diabetes: Our Right to a Healthy Future’ by the International Diabetes Federation. “That’s why we chose to conduct this year’s awareness raising activity at a supermarket, where women are more prevalent,” explained LAU Dietetic Internship Coordinator Sandra Karnaby.
Each year, in partnership with the Makhzoumi Foundation, Karnaby accompanies LAU students to different public spaces to engage members of the local community in discussion about diabetes. “We also hold similar community events on World Kidney Day and World Osteoporosis Day, among others,” she adds.
Within half an hour of setting up the stand with disinfecting wipes, cotton balls and glucose meters, the students were approached by 60 members of the public. “There’s a very high demand today, which is very positive,” explains dietician and LAU Instructor Marie Stephan, who was on hand to support and supervise the students. “Some results were indicative of diabetes and so our students, trained and ready to counsel, explain the risks to those who were tested and advise them to visit their doctor.”
The students present are in their final year of a four-year specialized program known as the Coordinated Program. “We take the strongest of our students from the Nutrition and Dietetics program and guide them through an intensive year of hands-on practical experience that sees them engage clinically at the LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital and through these important community interactions with the Makhzoumi Foundation,” explains Karnaby.
“Such interactions with the community are essential and very valuable to our students, many of whom have had little opportunity to engage with people living in conditions very different to their own,” she adds.
“We studied diabetes during our first three years and I read up about symptoms and statistics in preparation for today,” says student Diana Shaar. “Being able to expand our theoretical knowledge in the clinic by interacting with the community is invaluable.”