Tomorrow is World Diabetes Day. As someone who is diabetic, this day is something that I like to write about each year so more people become aware of this silent killer. Created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organisation in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes, the World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006. 14 November was chosen to commemorate the day as it is the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.
The world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries, the World Diabetes Day draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight.
The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to be the platform to promote IDF advocacy efforts throughout the year and be the global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue. The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN Resolution on diabetes. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.
Today, world-wide, 463 million adults, or an estimated one in eleven, were living with diabetes in 2019, with the number of people living with diabetes expected rise to 578 million by 2030. Many must live with the complications of diabetes and many still die young as a consequence of their condition. 1 in 2 adults with diabetes remain undiagnosed and the majority have type 2 diabetes. More than 3 in 4 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries and 1 in 6 live births or approximately 20 million are affected by high blood glucose or hyperglycaemia in pregnancy. Two-thirds of people with diabetes live in urban areas and three-quarters are of working age. 1 in 5 people with diabetes or about 136 million are above 65 years old. Diabetes caused 4.2 million deaths in 2019 and was responsible for at least $760 billion in health expenditure in 2019, accounting for about 10% of the global total spent on healthcare. The numbers continue to grow but the resources allocated to diabetes are often insufficient and are under increased pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO estimates that diabetes services have been disrupted in 50% of countries worldwide.
Every year, the World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on a dedicated theme that runs for one or more years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2020 is The Nurse and Diabetes. This year’s campaign aims to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.
Nurses currently account for over half of the global health workforce. They do outstanding work to support people living with a wide range of health concerns. People who either live with diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition need their support too. People living with diabetes face a number of challenges, and education is vital to equip nurses with the skills to support them. As the number of people with diabetes continues to rise across the world, the role of nurses and other health professional support staff becomes increasingly important in managing the impact of the condition. Healthcare providers and governments must recognise the importance of investing in education and training. With the right expertise, nurses can make the difference for people affected by diabetes.
According to the World Health Organization, nurses account for 59% of health professionals and the global nursing workforce is 27.9 million, of which 19.3 million are professional nurses with a global shortage of nurses in 2018 being 5.9 million with 89% of that shortage concentrated in low and middle-income countries. The estimated number of nurses trained and employed needs to grow by 8% a year to overcome alarming shortfalls in the profession by 2030. WHO estimates that the total investment required to achieve the targets outlined in the Social Development Goals by 2030 stand at 3.9 trillion USD – 40% of which should be dedicated to remunerating the health workforce.
As highly valued members of the community, nurses do outstanding work to support people living with a wide range of health concerns. People who either live with diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition need their support too. People living with diabetes face a number of challenges, and education is vital to equip nurses with the skills to support them. The IDF wants to facilitate opportunities for nurses to learn more about the condition and receive training so that they can make a difference for people with diabetes. As the number of people with diabetes continues to rise across the world, the role of nurses and other health professional support staff is becoming increasingly important in managing the impact of the condition. Nurses are often the first and sometimes only health professional that a person interacts with and so the quality of their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital. Nurses play a key role in diagnosing diabetes early to ensure prompt treatment, providing self-management training and psychological support for people with diabetes to help prevent complications and tackling the risk factors for type 2 diabetes to help prevent the condition. Healthcare providers and governments must therefore recognise the importance of investing in education and training. With the right expertise, nurses can make the difference for people affected by diabetes.
In my last year’s post on this day, I have written extensively about the types of diabetes, so read more there.