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Diabetes in NZ


Joe AsgharMuhammed Naseem (Joe) Asghar, MSc MBA FRPharmS FFPH FNZCP MPS, brings experience from across different sectors including health, the public sector (both in New Zealand and the UK) and academia. He has been at Diabetes NZ for about 3 years.

Originally trained as a pharmacist, Joe followed a career in mainly in hospital practice gaining experience across a range of clinical disciplines. During this time he also worked in community practice. Subsequent steps saw Joe move to management positions initially in local health services to eventually a role with the UK Department of Health. On moving to New Zealand he worked in health, with a subsequent move into science and science policy. Just over three years ago he took up post with Diabetes NZ.

Joe completed his undergraduate degree and Masters in Science at Strathclyde University and his MBA at Durham. He has been awarded Fellowships by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (UK), the Faculty of Public Health (UK) and the New Zealand College of Pharmacists. In 2010 he was accepted as a member of the Institute of Directors.

He lives in Khandallah with his wife (Judith) - a GP in Ngaio and Plimmerton - and his three children (Mairi, Fraser and Ailis) now all in their teens – hormone city!

 “Will you be killed by your sofa ?”

By David Pine

Diabetes is a massive health problem in our community, and it is getting worse. It currently affects about 225,000 people in NZ, with an estimated further 750,000 with pre-diabetes. A serious epidemic will follow if changes are not made. The clock is ticking.

Joe AsgharThese stark facts were offered by Joe Asghar of Diabetes NZ when he spoke at Plimmerton Rotary on 29th October 2013. He noted that their organisation had just 14 staff across the country. They were under no illusions about the magnitude of the task before them.

Diabetes is caused by an excess of glucose (sugar) in the system, coupled with the inability of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin. By far the most prevalent type is Type 2 which, for many people, is caused through a sedentary lifestyle and eating too much of those foods high in sugar and fat.

From the experience of his own family, Joe noted that habits are very hard to break. “We often suggest that people start by taking small steps. For example, rather than trying to completely cut out an unhealthy food or drink, start by simply having less. This way they will have less of the unhealthy foods and drinks which may be easier to start off with rather than cutting them out altogether.”

Diabetes NZ has a comprehensive web site that is continually being updated with new information. “In the last 12 months there have been about 250,000 hits on our website, and so awareness is certainly growing. We are seeking to create a state of the art on-line platform which explains in plain language how diabetes is caused and what people can do about it. We want visitors to the site to have a positive and motivational experience in a user-friendly environment. We see this as the most cost-effective way to get the message out there to the people who need it the most. Education is the key to combating diabetes.”

“Funding is always a problem, and we are continually looking for innovative ways to raise money. There are about 25,000 registered charities in NZ so we are in a crowded marketplace. We are passionate about what we are doing and we believe we can achieve our vision, which is for diabetes to be contained, controlled and cured”.

Click here to see the highly successful leaflet produced by Diabetes New Zealand to highlight the dangers of inactivity.  Diabetes NZ leaflet


Notices from Last Night’s Meeting

Porirua College and RYPENRYPEN students Tiana Ranfurly and Junior Iona from Porirua College with their Deputy Principal, Maxine Williams, visited the Club and gave entertaining reports on what they got out of their RYPEN experience. Maxine spoke about the great relationship between the College and Plimmerton Rotary and reported on the last three years of RYPEN students who had made university choices in medicine, computer science and engineering. She gave special thanks to David and Velma Knight for their encouragement and help with transport. Maxine also explained the process of school leadership at Porirua College . She emphasised the qualities needed to become a senior mentor, a peer mediator, a Year Nine transition coach, a representative on the Board of Trustees and an outstanding school representative and school leader. It was easy to see why Porirua College chose these two outstanding students to attend the Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment. It was impressive to listen to Tiana and Junior explaining the impact that the weekend at RYPEN had on them. Tiana mentioned being anxious and worried about the trip to Taihape, especially the activities at the Waiouru Army base. She realised she could overcome her fears and really enjoyed the physical challenges. She loved meeting like-minded people from all over the lower half of the North Island. She quickly set up a facebook page and to keep in contact with her new friends. Junior summed up the experience in one word – ‘Ultimate’. This covered the bus ride, meeting new people, the run and push ups and particularly the food. He really pushed himself. The self-confidence that these two displayed will stand them in good stead as nominations close soon for next year’s Head Girl and Head Boy.

joy allcock croppedJoy Allcock’s training days have tentatively been arranged for Thursday 14 November at Corinna School, Monday 18  November at Titahi Bay and Monday 25 November at Paremata, all from 3.30-7.30 pm to train the primary teachers around Porirua City in preparation for the Massey University initiative that will start in the first term of 2014. These dates and times will be confirmed shortly. Wendy Betteridge has offered the assistance of our Club members to help with serving a meal at about 5.00 pm. We will be able to listen in to the wonderful wisdom being imparted. Please contact Wendy to offer your help – phone 233 0116 -

 Maike's cake


Happy Birthday Maike! Our Exchange Student celebrates her 16th Birthday.  











Will you be killed by your sofa?

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