World Health Organisation launched Diabetic Compact to increase testing and treatment

About half of all adults with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a Global Diabetes Compact to better fight the disease while marking the centenary of the discovery of insulin. The programme will focus on scaling up access to diagnostic tools and medicines in low- and middle-income countries, said a WHO press note.

Diabetes is one of the major comorbid conditions linked to severe COVID-19 infections. “The number of people with diabetes has quadrupled in the last 40 years.  It is the only major non communicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up, rather than down,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.

About half of all adults with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed and 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes don’t get the insulin they need, WHO said in the statement.

The programme, launched at the Global Diabetes Summit, will set standards for tackling the diseases in the form of ‘global coverage targets’ for ensuring a wider reach of diabetes care. The bodies will also release a ‘global price tag’ that will calculate the “costs and benefits of meeting these targets, said the press brief.

The proponents were inspired by the success of the “all hand on deck” approach seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. “A key aim of the Global Diabetes Compact is to unite key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and, critically, people who live with diabetes, around a common agenda, to generate new momentum and co-create solutions,” said Dr Bente Michelson, Director of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases at WHO.

In 2019, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths. To present a more accurate picture of the deaths causes by diabetes, however, deaths due to higher-than-optimal blood glucose through cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and tuberculosis should be added. In 2012 (year of the latest available data), there were another 2.2 million deaths due to high blood glucose.

Between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% increase in premature mortality from diabetes. In high-income countries the premature mortality rate due to diabetes decreased from 2000 to 2010 but then increased in 2010-2016. In lower-middle-income countries, the premature mortality rate due to diabetes increased across both periods.

                                                            Khalid Bhatti  


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