Lancet Commission calls for global task force on diabetes

A Lancet Commission on Diabetes, four years in the making, warns, with evidence, of possible damaging effects of coronavirus 2 on the pancreatic islets, responsible for regulating blood sugar, and thereby, on diabetes. It has also recommended the setting up of a global task force for diabetes and non communicable diseases (NCDs), consisting of stakeholders from different sectors. The report was released online early Saturday.

“The task force can design, steer, and support a multicomponent strategy to address the multidimensional nature of diabetes and other NCDs,” it has recommended.

Four-year work

The publication and recommendations to governments across the world are the culmination of four years of extensive work on data curation, synthesis and modelling. Predictably, the emphasis on ‘prevention, early detection, prompt diagnosis, and continuing care with regular monitoring and ongoing evaluation’ have been outlined as the key elements in reducing the growing burden of diabetes. The document charts out a detailed path for implementation, including redesigning care settings, work flow, providing inputs for lifestyle restructuring and using metformin to prevent or delay onset of Type 2 diabetes,

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the vulnerability of people with diabetes during a public health emergency became evident by their at least 2 times increased risk of severe disease or death, especially in individuals with poorly controlled diabetes, co-morbidities, or both. Further, the report outlines that “in 2019, 463 million people had diabetes worldwide, with 80% from low-income and middle-income countries. Over 70% of global deaths are due to non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.”

In 2016, 26 experts in public health, clinical care, epidemiology, and health economics were brought together by The Lancet to review the evidence and knowledge gaps in diabetes and to develop strategic and actionable plans. Among the authors of the paper is the Chennai-based diabetologist, A. Ramachandran of Dr. Ramachandran’s Diabetes Hospital, who was one of the commissioners representing South Asia.

Recording existing disparities in access to health care, it argues that if access to essential medications had been ensured and control of blood pressure, HbA1c, and cholesterol had been improved in 70% of diagnosed patients, we estimate that 8,00,000 of these premature deaths might have been prevented.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 6:41:15 AM |

Next Story