All stories coming out of the First African Diabetes Congress in Arusha can be found here 
Tanzanian Vice-President Mohamed Gharib Bilal and Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) opened the First African Diabetes Congress in Arusha on Thursday, July 26. Their addresses called for a heightened emphasis on diabetes prevention and treatment and an increase in diabetes activism to tackle Africa’s growing epidemic
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Africa Region, organiser of the Congress, estimates that 344.000 Africans lost their lives to diabetes in 2011 and that 78% of people remain undiagnosed.
“The forecast for the future is bleak. Many African health systems are designed for infectious diseases and unprepared for chronic conditions like diabetes” warned Mbanya, a native Cameroonian. Addressing the audience, Mbanya called for sustained political leadership to tackle the epidemic and renewed pressure from “a new level of diabetes activism, rooted in outrage that it has taken so long for the diabetes epidemic to be recognized and addressed”.
VP Bilal called on African governments to implement simple cost-effective interventions to avoid the tragedy and cost of diabetes. “We must learn from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and not pit prevention versus treatment” he stressed “We must see them as two sides of the same coin, in equal measure reducing morbidity and mortality from this disease”.
Hundreds of congress delegates including politicians, scientists and people with diabetes, packed the auditorium at the Arusha International Convention Centre to listen to the opening ceremony.
The First African Diabetes Congress, running until July 28, will bring together more than 500 key stakeholders and leaders to discuss priorities for change in healthcare delivery for people with diabetes and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Africa. The main focus will be on the prevention of complications and improved quality of life for people living with diabetes and other NCDs. Symposia, by world experts followed by debates will aim to solve controversies, generate consensus and lead discussions on cutting edge clinical research on diabetes treatment and management.
Read the full press release here