A4D Diabetes Family Camp, Kuching: Collaboration and Education

From 15 -17th of August 2019, Action4Diabetics (A4D) ran a Diabetes Camp in Lundu, Malaysia. Along with our partners from Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) and Diabetes Malaysia Sarawak Branch, we welcomed 23 young people with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and their families for an action-packed few days.

Held at the Union Yes Retreat & Training Centre – a 2-hours’ drive from Kuching, the capital of Sarawak – the camp brought together over 60 people from across the region to learn more about the condition and, of course, to have fun!

First collaboration camp in Malaysian Borneo

A4D, SGH and Diabetes Malaysia organised the two-day educational camp together. It was the first time that the groups had done so and the children benefited immensely from the collaboration.

Volunteers from the Swinburne University of Technology were also generous in giving their time to the cause. Judging by the smiles that we saw across the two days, we believe they enjoyed their time at the camp.

Volunteers and heal care professionals at A4D Diabetes Family Camp
A4D, with partners from Sarawak General Hospital, Diabetes Malaysia and volunteers.

Diabetes Family Camps are a crucial part of T1D care. Not only do they help people learn about the best practice for managing the condition, but they also help build a T1D community, reducing the feelings of isolation that people with T1D are susceptible to.

Read on to see what activities we held at Diabetes Family camp in Sarawak.

Activities

The Psychology of Type 1 Diabetes

Ms Chen Yoke Yong, a Psychologist from the University of Malaysia Sarawak, kicked things off with sessions for both parents and children.

Increasingly, healthcare teams understand the need for mental support for people T1D. Often misunderstood by wider-society, this incurable condition requires a broad and holistic care approach.

“The camp was very meaningful. Not only for the patients or their caretakers, but for us as healthcare professionals. It helps us understand our patients better and know their problems. So we can help them, not only from a medication point of view but also from a psychological perspective. Some of our patients might have depression, and we need to be taking this into consideration”

Mr Albert, a Senior Pharmacist from the Sarawak General Hospital, reflecting on the importance of the camp.

Ms Chen ran lessons on self-image and coping with stress, as well as a positive dialogue session. The first step towards a positive mindset is the self-awareness of how you are feeling, both physically and mentally.

By discussing T1D openly in a friendly and supportive environment, the children and their families gain confidence. A positive mindset can help encourage them to manage the condition better when they are at home.

psycological impact of Type 1 Diabetes discussion at A4D Camp in Malaysia
Discussing the mental impact of Type 1 Diabetes

The Amazing Race by Sarawak General Hospital (SGH)

The doctors and diabetes team from SGH put on “The Amazing Race”, a T1D themed game. Teams had to visit 6-stations and complete a unique, diabetes-related task. All within a given time frame.

This is my first camp. I feel so happy. I have found new friends who are the same as me and have to inject. I would definitely come again!

Faiz, an 18 year-old with Type 1 Diabetes who is on the A4D Clinic Support programme

As well as a “Carb Counting” stop – where the children had to assess the carbohydrate serving on random food packets – the teams had to “Find Cinderella’s Shoe”. This task was an imaginative way of teaching the children about the importance of circulation, as the shoe could not be too tight!

children having fun at the A4D Diabetes Family Camp

Snack-time: how to eat healthy if you have T1D

A healthy diet is an essential part of Type 1 Diabetes care, as understanding what you are eating, and how much, can improve your blood glucose management.

healthy chicken sandwiches - A4D Diabetes Family Camp

Firstly, Chefs from the resort came to show the families how to prepare a healthy chicken sandwich. Then, with the help of the volunteers, the younger campers enjoyed making food art form fresh fruit and vegetables.

A big THANK YOU

The camp was a great success. It would not have been possible without the commitment of our partners on the ground. The team from Sarawak General Hospital and Diabetes Malaysia, Sarawak branch, show considerable dedication and capability in their efforts to improve the lives of young people with T1D.

It is a well organised camp, and the children enjoy it very much. There are different activities for them to do – some are educational, some are fun. I will hopefully be back next year.

Volunteer nurse, Caroline, who joined the camp through the Sarawak General Hospital

Of course, we have our sponsors who make our operations possible; both individuals who do A4D Challenges, and Novo Nordisk who gave financial support, and Roche who sponsored the test strips and lancets for the event.

A special mention also to YB Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen and the Lions Club Region 1 also for their financial donations towards the event. And of course, a massive thank you to the volunteers who joined us! We hope they enjoyed the camp and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Until next time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *