According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries.
Factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity. Thus, WHO dedicated its annual World Health Day, which fell yesterday, April 7, to the mobilisation of resources globally to fight diabetes.
In its first “Global report on diabetes”, WHO highlights the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease. Measures needed include expanding health-promoting environments to reduce diabetes risk factors, like physical inactivity and unhealthy diets, and strengthening national capacities to help people with diabetes receive the treatment and care they need to manage their conditions.
“If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”
Diabetes is a chronic, progressive non-communicable disease (NCD) characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar). It occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
WHO notes that many cases of diabetes can be prevented, and measures exist to detect and manage the condition, improving the odds that people with diabetes live long and healthy lives. “But change greatly depends on governments doing more, including by implementing global commitments to address diabetes and other NCDs.”
Whilst we of Public Agenda recognise these global actions, we also call on Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and their allied agencies to continue and intensify their efforts towards the prevention and treatment of diabetes among the populace. We the citizens also owe to ourselves the responsibility to exercise regularly, and to avoid unhealthy diets, which can lead to the development of diabetes.
Surce: Public Agenda