Global report on diabetes 2016

Global report on diabetes 2016

Diabetes is an important public health problem, one of four priority noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) targeted for action by world leaders. Both the number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes have been steadily increasing over the past few decades.

This first WHO Global report on diabetes underscores the enormous scale of the diabetes problem, and also the potential to reverse current trends. The political basis for concerted action to address diabetes is there, woven into the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Political Declaration on NCDs, and the WHO NCD Global Action Plan. Where built upon, these foundations will catalyse action by all.

Countries can take a series of actions, in line with the objectives of the WHO NCD Global Action Plan 2013–2020, to reduce the impact of diabetes: 

  • Establish national mechanisms such as high-level multisectoral commissions to ensure political commitment, resource allocation, effective leadership and advocacy for an integrated NCD response, with specific attention to diabetes.
  • Build the capacity of ministries of health to exercise a strategic leadership role, engaging stakeholders across sectors and society. Set national targets and indicators to foster accountability. Ensure that national policies and plans addressing diabetes are fully costed and then funded and implemented.
  • Prioritize actions to prevent people becoming overweight and obese, beginning before birth and in early childhood. Implement policies and programmes to promote breastfeeding and the consumption of healthy foods and to discourage the consumption of unhealthy foods, such as sugary sodas. Create supportive built and social environments for physical activity. A combination of fiscal policies, legislation, changes to the environment and raising awareness of health risks works best for promoting healthier diets and physical activity at the necessary scale.
  • Strengthen the health system response to NCDs, including diabetes, particularly at primary-care level. Implement guidelines and protocols to improve diagnosis and management of diabetes in primary health care. Establish policies and programmes to ensure equitable access to essential technologies for diagnosis and management. Make essential medicines such as human insulin available and affordable to all who need them.
  • Address key gaps in the diabetes knowledge base. Outcome evaluations of innovative programmes intended to change behaviour are a particular need.
  • Strengthen national capacity to collect, analyse and use representative data on the burden and trends of diabetes and its key risk factors. Develop, maintain and strengthen a diabetes registry if feasible and sustainable.
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