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Paul Zimmet:
A Voice for Diabetes

Jonathan E. Shaw

Corresponding author: Jonathan E.Shaw,  jonathan.shaw@baker.edu.au

Diabetes Care 2021 Nov; 44(11): 2460-2463.  https://doi.org/10.2337/dci21-0040

Paul Zimmet has been one of the leading figures, globally, in transforming the understanding and threat of diabetes from a Cinderella disease to a major plank of most governments’ health policies. His science, particularly a series of epidemiological studies, has been at the forefront of the campaign, but it is fueled by his genuine passion to improve the life of people with diabetes. After more than 50 years of working in the diabetes field, he continues to actively push the boundaries of our understanding of the condition.

The Zimmet family has medicine running through its veins, but it was not always the somewhat privileged life of the professional classes. Paul Zimmet’s father, Jacob, was born in Tarnopol, Poland, and graduated in medicine from the University of Vienna in 1935. However, with rising anti-Semitism, the only position available to him was an unpaid one at the Tarnopol Hospital. Jacob realized there was no future in Poland, and in 1938, he, along with his wife and first child, Rena, fled Poland and fortunately was able to obtain passage to Australia. Of all the family that remained behind, only one survived the Nazi concentration camps. Australia was far from the horrors of the Holocaust, but life was still not easy, as Jacob had to requalify in medicine, which he achieved at the University of Adelaide in 1942.

Paul was born in 1941 and grew up in his father’s country medical practice in Whyalla, a small town nearly 400 km from the city of Adelaide. From such small beginnings, a dynasty of medicine began, as Paul, two of his siblings Rena and Leon, Paul’s two sons Hendrik and Marcel, and Paul’s nephew Adam entered the profession, and between them have specialized in diabetes, cardiology, pediatrics, and cardiac surgery.

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SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The message from our Federal and State Governments is now ‘loud and clear’, isolation and social responsibility are our best defences against the spread of Covid-19.

Do not underestimate how critical this site is to the health and safety of our community. The information in front of your eyes ‘will save lives’. Those lives could be your own, your child, a family member, friend or colleague, or a complete stranger.

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COVER UP WHEN COUGHING/SNEEZING

Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing and bin the tissue.

 

If you don’t have a tissue, cough
or sneeze into your upper sleeve
or elbow, NOT YOUR HANDS.

 

WASH your hands with soap and
running water.

 

Dry your hands thoroughly with a disposable paper towel or hand dryer.

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PRACTICE GOOD

HYGIENE

The WHO recommends regular hand washing with soap and water and using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser only if soap and water are not available.

1. Wet your hands.

2. Put soap on your hands.

3. Rub the soap over all parts of

your hands for at least 20 seconds.

4. Rinse hands under running water.

5. Dry your hands thoroughly with a disposable paper towel or hand dryer.

We touch our faces about 23 times an hour, that is why hand washing is a crucial defence against Coronavirus.

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IF YOU DEVELOP SYMPTOMS

If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) within 14 days of arriving in Australia, or within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment.

 

You should telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and tell them your travel history or that you may have been in contact with a potential case of coronavirus.
You must remain isolated either in your home, hotel or a health care setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities

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AVOID PERSONAL

CONTACT

Coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

1. Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared.

2. Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes.

3. Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

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PRACTICE PHYSICAL

DISTANCING

  • If you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19, you must quarantine for 14 days. You will be notified by the Department of Health and Human Services and advised of what you must do.

  • If you’re in quarantine or isolation, you can’t:

    • leave that place except in an emergency.

    • allow other people into the home if they don’t live there.

    • be closer than 1.5 metres to others in the home.

  • Stay at home and avoid all gatherings of more than two people including yourself. This minimises the chances of transmission, protects the health system and saves lives.

  • You should only be outside for one of the following four reasons:

    • shopping for what you need - food and essential supplies

    • medical, care or compassionate needs

    • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements

    • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely

  • If you are with other people e.g. in supermarket, you must observe the rule of 1 person for every 4 square metres to ensure a safe physical distance. Keep 1.5 metres away from others.

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WHEN DO YOU NEED TO ISOLATE

All people who arrive in Australia from midnight 15 March 2020, or think may they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, are required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

 

Staying at home means you:

  • do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university

  • ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door

  • do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home

You do not need to wear a mask in your home. If you need to go out to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

 

ABOUT THE VIRUS

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This new coronavirus originated in Hubei Province, China and the disease is named COVID-19.

 

Victorians should now take steps to prepare for the possibility of transmission of coronavirus disease in Victoria in the coming weeks or months.

 

For the latest advice visit: www.health.gov.au

 

INFORMATION FOR YOU

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CLUB TRAINING
& GAME DAY UPDATES
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CORONAVIRUS
TALKING TO
YOUR CHILD
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MACCABI LIFE HEALTH & WELLNESS INFO
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GUIDANCE ON
HOW TO ISOLATE & WHEN TO RETURN