Type 2 Diabetes: Time to act on early action

As world leaders in diabetes meet in Barcelona this month to discuss how to champion national policies in prevention, early diagnosis and early control, what can countries actually do to stop the rising tide of this seemingly unstoppable “global epidemic”1?

The international burden of diabetes is well documented. New figures from the IDF Atlas 7th Edition identify that 415 million people in the world have diabetes2. By 2040 these figures are expected to grow, with as many as 1 in 10 people estimated to be living with diabetes in 25 years’ time2. As much as 12% of total health expenditure is spent on diabetes and,² perhaps most importantly, lives are being turned upside down around the world as people develop associated serious complications such as stroke, heart attacks, blindness and amputations3.

So what is being done? Internationally, there is a slow but growing recognition of the need for action, with the WHO’s recent Sustainable Development Goals including a new target to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by a third by 20304. However, are all countries doing enough to tackle the causes of this disease by implementing early action policies at a local level?

The Global Diabetes Summit in Barcelona, arranged in partnership with the International Diabetes Federation, Primary Care Diabetes Europe and AstraZeneca, was designed to uncover just that: what steps are being taken in each country to prevent, diagnose and control type 2 diabetes as early as possible in the patient pathway to reduce the vast impact this condition has on individuals, health systems and economies?

Over 50 attendees from 17 countries were invited to share their own good-practice experiences, challenges and learnings to instil inspiration and drive local action to translate the global vision of a world less burdened by diabetes into a reality. Topics of discussion include screening initiatives, targeted prevention programmes in those individuals identified as being at high risk and education for both healthcare professionals and patients alike around the benefits of early, good blood glucose control, trialled around the world.

So how can countries learn from each other to identify the most effective, efficient way of making an impact on patients’ lives? Through a multi-year campaign of activity over the following 12 months and more, the partner organisations aim to deliver.

National workshops will be driving country-level policy roadmaps, international best practice will be shared across virtual working groups, and a Global Forum planned towards the end of 2016 aims to share progress and commit to next steps to ensure local action continues at a country level in 2017 and beyond.

Diabetes has been recognised by the UN as a “public health emergency in slow motion”5. As prevalence rises, costs increase and lives continue to be affected by life-changing complications2, yet it is never too early to implement early action policies for diabetes. As the last figures from IDF suggest, time is in fact running out.

The Global Diabetes Policy Summit Partners
International Diabetes Federation, Primary Care Diabetes Europe, AstraZeneca

1 AstraZeneca, A Call to Action for Early Diagnosis in Diabetes: Closing the gap between evidence, policy and practice, 2015. Available from here: https://www.earlyactiondiabetes.com/content/dam/website-services/global/334-earlyactiondiabetes-com/pdf/AstraZeneca_Early%20Diagnosis%20Booklet%20FINAL%20APPROVED.pdf. Accessed November 2015
2 International Diabetes Federation, IDF Atlas Seventh Edition, 2015
3 International Diabetes Federation, IDF Atlas Sixth Edition, 2013 4 World Health Organisation, Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals, 2015. Available from here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/focussdgs.html. Accessed November 2015
5 Ki-Moon, B, Secretary-General’s concluding remarks at Forum on Global Health, 2009. Available here: http://www.un.org/sg/ STATEMENTS/index.asp?nid=3922. Accessed October 2015

Original Document

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