WHO initiative to expand access to affordable insulin

Insulin is available in only 1 in 3 of the poorest countries

Published - November 09, 2019 10:11 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Woman doing blood sugar test

Woman doing blood sugar test

Ahead of the World Diabetes Day on November 14, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching an initiative to expand access to affordable insulin. Stating that more than 420 million people worldwide, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, live with diabetes, WHO noted that many who require insulin do not have access, often due to high costs.

The global report on diabetes shows that essential medicines and technologies, including insulin, are generally available in only 1 in 3 of the poorest countries. It has recommended that access to insulin should be treated as a matter of life or death and that improving access to medicines in general should be a priority.

According to the International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas (7th Edition), China has the largest number of patients(11.43 cr.) followed by India (7.29 cr.) in 2017. As per the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, 5.8% women and 8.0% men in India are having blood sugar level above 140 mg/dl, in the age group of 15-49 years.

“The factors responsible for increase in diabetes are unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, harmful use of alcohol, over-weight/obesity, tobacco use etc. “The Health Ministry is focused on creating awareness for behaviour and life-style changes, screening and early diagnosis of persons with high level of risk factors and their treatment and referral (if required) to higher facilities for appropriate management for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) including diabetes,’’ noted a senior health official.

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