At the recent Cape York Summit in December 2018,  Exercise Physiologist Ray Kelly and Former CEO of Apunipima, Barbara Flick presented powerful results from the implementation of their Too Deadly for Diabetes program in NSW.

Pama were strongly resolved to tackle the scourge of Diabetes II and its terrible impacts on our people, and called for the development of an effective and appropriate plan for the Cape.

To progress this conversation, Cape York Partnership and Apunipima this week hosted a Too Deadly for Diabetes co-design workshop, with Ray, Barbara and a range of people gathered from Cape communities, social investment sector, Cape York regional organisations, and government.

This two-day workshop scoped interest and capacity for collaboration and implementation of the exciting Too Deadly for Diabetes program in Cape York and also considered the program requirements such as funding and strategy, exercise, nutrition, medical health service, integrated program coordination and execution.

“We cannot stem this disease without resolve from the people of Cape York. They play the most important role in combatting the dreadful impacts of this disease for future generations,” Fiona Jose, CEO of Cape York Partnership said.

At the workshop, participants spoke passionately about the need to target the spread of the disease and educating the young people about how to take a path that does not include diabetes.

The participants agreed on a plan of action that aims to prevent diabetes across Cape York, rather than trying to manage the disease, which is the current approach by health providers.

The next planning workshop for the project will be held in April 2019.

Karen Gibson from Mossman Gorge said, “Maybe we need to have a message to our young people – Don’t make diabetes your story”

Others agreed that people can take control of their own health without good information.

“The health message to us is a negative message, not a positive message. People are being given tablets, not information.”

“Diabetes is our number one problem, more so than grog, drugs or anything else. It’s our number one problem because it afflicts the people who don’t drink, who don’t do drugs, who are looking out for the kids.” Noel Pearson of Hope Vale said.

‘So role models in the community are afflicted with this. If we tackle diabetes, it will have a flow-on effect to tackling other health issues such as heart disease.”

“We need to take the shame out of the problem. A lot of people feel shame at being overweight and having diabetes, and they are embarrassed about facing that problem,” Deborah Pearson said.

“We need to get out there and start going for walks around our streets to start exercising, and not be ashamed.”