26 August, 2019

The 10,000 Toes Campaign is a partnership between ADRA Australia and the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church committed to stamping out diabetes in the South Pacific.

Dr Lillian Kent, a Conjoint Lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education, has recently completed the 10,000 Toes program trial in Fiji. The trial commenced the war on type II diabetes by utilising the existing facilities of the ADRA Live More Abundantly (LMA) program in Fiji. This saved both time and money in project start-up costs and provided the following findings:

  1. Assessment: The trial found that the most effective way of identifying project participants is through a simple assessment using a glucose test, BMI index evaluation charts, and a body weighing scale. This means that the administration of a blood test by a doctor or nurse won’t be necessary—which will help to preserve funds for other activities.

    PNG lady receives blood glucose test from nurse

    Lady in Papua New Guinea receives blood glucose test from nurse and ADRA volunteer

  2. Action: The participants that will be assessed will be categorised into one of two groups: those needing medical attention and those at high risk. Those needing medical attention will be immediately directed to a hospital. Both groups are offered a 13 week intensive lifestyle change program (based on the existing highly successful ADRA LMA program) to help manage their condition.
  3. Maintenance: To ensure that participants continue on their pathway to healthy living, all Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Pacific Islands will be encouraged to become Holistic Wellness Centres. The Holistic Wellness Centres will provide recovering participants with ongoing lifestyle support to help them maintain and improve healthy food preparation, eating habits, exercise activities, and more.

    Fresh fruit and veggies in PNG

    Fresh food is encouraged with communities like this one in Papua New Guinea

  4. Future Opportunities:
    • With ADRA Australia supporting a range of projects across the South Pacific, an opportunity exists to incorporate existing ADRA projects – including They Are Not Alone program in Papua New Guinea (which is addressing domestic violence) and Blossom project in Vanuatu (which is addressing healthy lifestyle choices for young people) – into the developing network of Holistic Wellness Centres.
    • Another opportunity exists with a 6 month certificate accreditation course in Lifestyle Disease Management (for medical professionals) commencing in the region. The first examinations for the course are scheduled for March 2020 and it is envisaged that a separate network of Medical Wellness Centres will open up following the training being provided.
Feet on scales

Weight being taken to calculate BMI

Taking the weight of prospects in Papua New Guinea

There is a lot of work ahead for ADRA, the South Pacific Division and the 10,000 Toes team. But, with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health considering a potential partnership to help combat this debilitating disease, the 10,000 Toes Campaign remains hopeful that they can reach their goal. We believe that if the governments of the Pacific Islands participate financially and administratively the 10,000 Toes project will thrive. And, once the cost efficient health benefits are demonstrated the Australian Government may also get on board.

Thank you again for supporting this vital initiative. We hope that you will continue to support this worthy cause.

To learn more about the 10,000 Toes project or to make a donation, visit https://www.adra.org.au/project/10000-toes/