WHO launches special consultation for people living with diabetes

Summary

From 9-11 March 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be hosting an international virtual consultation with people living with diabetes, to inform the development of a Global Diabetes Compact (GDC).

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A Global Diabetes Compact

At the end of 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced its plan to create a Global Diabetes Compact, an initiative designed to support its member countries more effectively in the prevention and management of diabetes.
Speaking on World Diabetes Day, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that the Global Diabetes Compact would “define a global coverage target, a price tag, new technical tools, guidelines and mechanisms to drive innovation.” Scheduled to be released in April 2021, on the 100th anniversary year of the discovery of insulin, the compact will also seek to “bridge the gap between people with diabetes who have access to insulin and those who do not.”

In January 2021, during its Executive Board session, the organisation reiterated its “deep concern at the lack of progress in addressing diabetes as a public health problem” and pointed to what it believed were the obstacles: “lack of universal access to quality, safe, effective, affordable essential health services, medicines, diagnostics and health technologies, as well as a global shortage of qualified health workers.”

Consultation with people living with diabetes

In the lead-up to the Global Diabetes Compact, the WHO Non-communicable Diseases Department is engaging people living with diabetes, whom it describes as “co-creators in the development and implementation of the Global Diabetes Compact, as well as its governance.”

A series of events will take place over the course of three days, from 9-11 March 2021 (13:00-16:30 CET). This first round of consultation will lead to further engagement in 2021 and 2022. To express interest in attending, people living with diabetes are invited to fill out a form on the WHO registration platform (link here)

Renewed focus on diabetes

The announcement of the Global Diabetes Compact came at a particular sensitive time for people living with diabetes. Dr Tedros observed that “while diabetes has been on the rise for many years”, 2020 had been “a wake-up call, as people living with diabetes are at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19.”

With this initiative, WHO is putting its weight in the fight against diabetes. “We must improve our coordination to support countries to make the policy and fiscal decisions that can prevent diabetes”, Dr Tedros explained. The WHO is showing its commitment to provide member countries “with the guidance and tools that they need” and “to work through all the channels necessary to make diagnosis and medicine affordable.”

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