This year’s World Diabetes Day falls during a global pandemic which has already taken the lives of well over a million people. People with diabetes are paying a particularly high price. Not only do they have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death when infected, but many are having difficulty accessing the treatment they need due to disruptions to essential health services.
The pandemic has exacerbated a situation that was already extremely concerning. WHO estimates that 6% of the world’s population has diabetes. The total number today is four times what it was in 1980. What’s more, the number is rising most rapidly in low-and-middle-income countries, which are the least well-equipped to provide treatment.
The gravity of the situation demands a strong, united response from all organizations working in the areas of monitoring, prevention and treatment of diabetes.
On World Diabetes Day, WHO is announcing the Global Diabetes Compact, a comprehensive and inclusive approach to support countries in implementing effective programmes for the prevention and management of diabetes.
The Compact will bring together in one package all WHO materials available for the prevention and management of diabetes, both existing and new. On the prevention side, particular focus will be given to reducing obesity, especially among young people. On the treatment side, emphasis will be on improving access to diabetes medicines and technologies, in particular in low- and middle-income countries.
Key to the success of the Compact will be alignment and united action across all sectors ̶ public, private and philanthropic.