The World Health Organisation has called for increased access to quality diabetes education for healthcare workers and people living with diabetes as part of efforts to achieve access for all to quality, affordable diabetes care, on the occasion of World Diabetes Day.
“In the WHO South-East Asia Region, more than 96 million people are estimated to have diabetes, and another 96 million to be pre-diabetic, causing at least 600 000 deaths annually. By 2045, unless urgent action is taken, the prevalence of diabetes in the Region is expected to increase by 68 per cent,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal said.
She also laid down the methods to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
According to Dr Khetrapal, the region continues to take targeted action to address diabetes, in line with its Flagship Priorities on preventing and controlling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and achieving universal health coverage (UHC), as well as its recently adopted Implementation Roadmap on NCD prevention and control 2022-2030.
“Almost all countries now have in place standardized treatment guidelines for diabetes, and most provide at least one hypoglycemic drug at the primary health care (PHC) level. Across the Region, the WHO HEARTS-D technical package is supporting PHC personnel to diagnose, treat and manage diabetes, accelerating Region-wide efforts to reorient health systems – including NCD care – to the PHC level,” she said.
According to Dr Khetrapal, in 2021, amid the COVID-19 response, WHO supported the delivery of insulin donations to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste, alongside 45 other low- and middle-income countries globally.
Dr Khetrapal said that it is calling for action in several key areas including the setting up of time-bound targets to address gaps in service coverage.
“Third, policymakers should continue to strengthen PHC service delivery, ensuring that diabetes screening and care are available, accessible, acceptable, and of adequate quality, without discrimination, accelerating momentum from the 2016 Colombo Declaration,” Dr Khetrapal said.