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WHO warns against diabetes epidemic

November 15, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:43 am IST - NEW DELHI:

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Stating that immediate action has to be taken to control the onslaught of diabetes, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for South-East Asia, said on the World Diabetes (November 14) that diabetes is a global epidemic which kills one person every six seconds and over five million every year.

Diabetes makes people prone to heart disease, kidney failure and infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS, among others, leading to premature death.

“The number of people with diabetes is projected to increase alarmingly from 457 million in 2014 to 592 million by 2035 if we do not act now to arrest this trend,” noted Ms. Khetrapal.

Diabetes can be prevented and treated. World Diabetes Day, created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and WHO, is focusing on “Healthy Living and Diabetes” as the theme for 2014 to 2016, and the importance of prevention in diabetes.

To put the spotlight on the urgent need to act against diabetes, WHO has selected diabetes, as the theme for the World Health Day 2016. WHO South-East Asia Region is home to an estimated 91 million people affected by diabetes. Of these, nearly half go undiagnosed. WHO is supporting countries by advocating for and catalysing multi-sectoral policies for health promotion and strengthening national health systems for early detection and treatment of diabetes.

These include training health workforce, developing treatment norms and increasing the availability of basic diagnostics and essential medicines at primary health care centres.

“We need to work collaboratively with governments, civil society, private sectors, schools, workplaces, media and other local partners. We all have a role to play to ensure healthier environment for a healthy living. However, the key role is of an individual to make lifelong healthy choices for a healthier future,’’ noted a statement issued by WHO- South-East Asia Region.

According to WHO, the number of people with diabetes is projected to increase from 457 million in 2014 to 592 million by 2035

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