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Global action call on diabetes epidemic

Friday November 13th 2020

The world is facing an epidemic of diabetes – and could save millions of lives by effective, low-cost interventions, experts say today.

Tomorrow (14 November) is World Diabetes Day and 463 million people worldwide suffer from the problem, according to a report in The Lancet.

More than four million people a year are dying from the direct effects of the condition – and 80% of victims are in low and middle income countries, according to the analysis.

Ten countries, including China, India and Brazil, account for half of all cases, according to the study.

The experts recommend widespread use of statins and metformin together with “structured lifestyle intervention.”

Countries should aim for sustained weight reduction in obese patients and reduction of blood sugar levels, they say.

Professor Juliana Chan, of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, said: "By protecting our environment, changing our practice, and empowering our communities, we can reduce the burden of diabetes as a root cause of many noncommunicable diseases. The diabetes epidemic is a calling that concerns all of us, as everyone has contributed to the ecosystem in one way or another to fuel the epidemic.

“As such, we all have the collective responsibility to rise to this challenge to sustain our environment and to use our finite resources wisely to preserve humanity. The global challenge of diabetes transcends political, economic, social, and technological domains."

An editorial comment by the journal says that a World Health Organisation project represents a “valuable opportunity.”

It states: “Through the Compact, WHO will work with partners to support countries to mobilise resources and accelerate structural transformations that together will enable the scale-up of access to essential diabetes medicines and technologies, the inclusion of diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in primary healthcare and universal health coverage packages, and the reduction of major population-level diabetes risk factors such as obesity.”

Lancet 12 November 2020

[abstract]

Tags: Asia | Diabetes | South America | World Health

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