WHO’s new Global Diabetes Compact includes people with diabetes

Last week I was honored to be part of a 3 day conference run by the World Health Organization. The aim of the three days was to glean from almost 100 people living with diabetes-participants how to, through our expertise and partnership, form, structure, govern and implement this new Compact. The mission of the Compact is to bring diabetes treatment to all who need it around the world. That includes: Prevention (focusing on the reduction of obesity in young people); Improved access to medicine and technology; Set global targets for diabetes to improve monitoring/accountability of progress.

If it seemed a bit obscure above, people living with diabetes will be actively involved in the development and implementation of the Compact. Our conference was abuzz with its participants’ expertise and it was especially lovely to be locked up in a room (okay zoom room) with some of the best and brightest diabetes activists and advocates whom I sorely miss.

The Global Diabetes Compact will be launched on April 14th in honor of this 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. That miracle, by the way, was performed by medical scientist Frederick Banting. So that no one would have to go without insulin, Banting then sold insulin’s patient to the University of Toronto for a mere $1.00. Well, we know how that worked out.

At its launch next month, WHO will bring together leaders in government, business and society to make commitments to people living with diabetes having access to affordable health services, medicine, treatment and also to deliver on the political commitments they made at the 2018 and 2019 United Nations General Assembly on Non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

After its launch the Compact will be focused on accomplishments it hopes to share at the second high-level meeting at the United Nations on Universal Health Coverage in 2023, and the fourth high-level meeting on NCDs in 2025. The number of people around the world who are expected to have diabetes in 2030, only nine years from now, is 366 million. That’s more than twice as many as today, 171 million.

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