A 10-Year Global Diabetes Plan

In my continuing coverage from the World Diabetes Congress, I thought it may be appropriate to share with my readers the Global Diabetes Plan 2011-2012, recently released by the International Diabetes Federation.

The objectives of this ambitious plan are to

1) Improve health outcomes of people with diabetes – early diagnosis, cost effective treatment and self-management education can prevent or significantly delay devastating diabetes-related complications and save lives.

2) Prevent the development of type 2 diabetes – lifestyle interventions and socially responsible policies and market interventions within and beyond the health sector can promote healthy nutrition and physical activity and prevent diabetes.

3) Stop discrimination against people with diabetes – people with diabetes can play an important role in their own health outcomes and combating diabetes more generally. Supportive legal and policy frameworks, awareness campaigns and patient-centred services uphold the rights of people with diabetes and prevent discrimination.

The key strategy of the plan is to call on governments to implement National Diabetes Programmes – Comprehensive policy and delivery approaches enhance the organisation, quality and reach of diabetes prevention and care. It is feasible and desirable for all countries to have a national diabetes programme and successful models are already in place in some countries.

The hope is that this strategy will deliver the following results:

1) Strengthen institutional frameworks – strengthen UN and country-level leadership across multiple sectors to ensure coherent, innovative and effective global and national responses to diabetes, and achieve the best possible return on investment.

2) Integrate and optimise human resources and health services – re-orient, equip and build capacity of health systems to respond effectively to the challenge of diabetes through training and workforce devel- opment, particularly at primary care level.

3) Review and streamline supply systems – optimise the provision of essential diabetes medicines and technologies through reliable and transparent procurement and distribution systems.

4) Generate and use research evidence strategically – develop a prioritised research agenda, build research capacity and apply evidence to policy and practice.

5) Monitor, evaluate and communicate outcomes – use health information systems and robust moni- toring and evaluation to assess progress.

6) Allocate appropriate and sustainable domestic and international resources – achieve innovative, sustained and predict- able resourcing for diabetes, including Official Development Assistance (ODA) for low-and middle-income countries.

7) Adopt a whole of society approach – engage governments, the private sector and civil society (including healthcare workers, academia and people with diabetes) in working together to turn the tide on diabetes.

With regard to point 7, the report comes out very much in favour of engaging business and industry in an attempt to encourage:

– property developers to improve building design for physical activity and social inclusion.

– the food industry to support wide availability of nutritious and affordable food and bever- ages, reduce marketing of unhealthy food and to adopt socially responsible business policies and practices.

In fact, this afternoon (too late for this blog post), I will attend a debate on how such interactions with industry could work and perhaps, more specifically, whether or not an organization like the IDF (or for that matter any NGO) should accept funding from industry – including those, who may be deemed to be “part of the problem”.

As the Scientific Director and CEO of the Canadian Obesity Network, Canada’s only national non-profit organization dedicated to obesity prevention and management, which, despite enthusiastic public proclamations by health ministers on their intent to address the obesity problem, currently has no sustainable public funding, this topic is obviously of considerable interest.

I look forward to reporting, on what I hope will be an enlightening debate in tomorrow’s post.

Dubai, UAE

p.s. a copy of the IDF Global Diabetes Plan is available here