Diabetes has its day on stage
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A boy who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 5 is living a comfortable life well into old age, because he follows doctors' suggestions on medications, diet and exercise.
The story is a fictional drama but based on real-life, presented by an innovative hospital in Beijing last week.
To raise public awareness of diabetes control a day before International Diabetes Day (Nov 14), the drama was created and staged at China-Japan Friendship Hospital by its medical staff members and diabetes patients.
"Diabetes hits younger and more people now in China," says Yang Wenying, a diabetes specialist with the hospital.
"It is urgent to educate people about the disease, how to prevent it and how to control it."
China has one-third of the world's diabetic population. The adult diabetes rate in China has hit 11.6 percent, the highest in the world, says a recent study by researchers in China published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
While in 1980 less than 1 percent of the Chinese population was diabetic, the number rose to 5.5 percent in 2001 and 9.7 percent in 2007, Yang notes.
The disease gets plenty of attention on World Diabetes Day, but the hospital tries to raise awareness all year. There are monthly public lectures, and the staff also organizes support group meetings for patients in the endocrinology department.
But the medical staff gradually realized they needed to engage patients and their families more, to inspire and motivate them to be proactive toward diabetes control, says Zhao Fang, the chief nurse with the department.
"Lectures are good, but they are one-sided and sound heavy," Zhao says. "Then we came up with the idea of drama. Disease is scary, but drama is fun."
The hospital invited patients to help create the drama, and about 20 patients were eager to offer good suggestions for the story's plot.
"It is good that patients also get involved," Zhao says. "They provide a different perspective on diabetes."
（中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Anne Ruisi is an editor at China Daily online with more than 30 years of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter. She has worked at newspapers in the U.S., including The Birmingham News in Alabama and City Newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.
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