Developing countries

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Focus on the front line: l'Association Malienne de Lutte contre le Diabète

Contrary to the now outdated idea of diabetes as a disease of rich people in rich countries, the condition is increasingly widespread in Africa. Mali, the second-largest country in West Africa, bordering the Sahara desert to the north and Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal to the south, has not escaped the budding epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Overall prevalence is thought to exceed 2% – nearly a quarter of a million people. Most of these have type 2 diabetes and live in the urban areas.

Focus on the front line: Diabetes South Africa

Diabetes is emerging as a serious public-health problem in South Africa, particularly in the urban areas, where social welfare and health systems are precarious, and there is a lack of access to appropriate health information. Diabetes South Africa (DSA), established in 1969, advocates for the rights of all people with diabetes in the country.

Promoting global action on the social determinants of health

Throughout the world, socially disadvantaged people with inadequate access to health resources suffer worse health status and die younger than people in more privileged social positions. Yet although the greatest share of health problems is attributable to living conditions, health policies are dominated by disease-focused solutions that largely ignore the social environment. As a result, inequalities have widened and health interventions have obtained less than optimal results.

Diabetes management in a primary care setting: the Kenyatta National Hospital

Diabetes is increasingly common worldwide, and Kenya is no exception. The Ministry of Health estimates the prevalence of diabetes to be around 10% (3.5 million people). The cause of much human suffering, diabetes also places a considerable economic burden on individuals and families, and healthcare systems.

Diabetes and traditional medicine in Africa

In Africa, there is said to be one traditional healer to every 200 people; an estimated 80% of people in the continent turn to traditional medicine as a source of primary care, including those with diabetes. In settings that are characterized by shortcomings in healthcare provision resources, traditional healers are making selective use of biomedical knowledge and language to enhance the perceived effectiveness of their treatments.

From research to policy: the development of a national diabetes programme in Cameroon

Ten years ago, without evidence to suggest otherwise, diabetes was not considered a public priority in Cameroon; the emphasis of Government health policy was on tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic and attempting to eradicate communicable diseases. Efforts had been made to set up centres specializing in diabetes and hypertension, but without the backing of a national diabetes programme, most of these closed within a few years. The lack of data on non-communicable diseases constituted a major roadblock to the development of any such programme.

Toward a better future in Morocco

The rise in the number of people with diabetes in Morocco reflects current global trends. In step with the sharp and ongoing increase in levels of obesity in the urban populations, the prevalence of diabetes is rising. But while the threat of a full-blown diabetes epidemic in Morocco is growing, many people with the condition receive inadequate care as a result of shortages in human and medical resources, poor clinical facilities, and a lack of diabetes education.

Diabetes care in Sudan: emerging issues and acute needs

Sudan is the largest country in Africa and one of the poorest in the world. Its population is estimated at around 37 million; the capital Khartoum, with approximately 6 million inhabitants, is growing rapidly. There are hundreds of ethnic and tribal divisions and language groups within the two distinct major cultures in Sudan – Arabs with Nubian roots and non-Arab Black Africans. The lack of effective collaboration among these groups continues to be a serious problem.

A diabetes strategy for Africa: investing in health, protecting our people

The burgeoning epidemic of diabetes in Africa will exact a terrible toll from the people and economies of the region. The costs of the condition and its complications are already unacceptably high. Every day in Africa, large numbers of children and adults die because they cannot pay for the insulin they need to survive; many more die before a diagnosis can be made. But diabetes can be controlled through relatively small investments and prevented entirely through simple cost-effective interventions.

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