Diabetes Views


In this issue …

Welcome to this, the second issue of Diabetes Voice for 2013. It has some new features. Let me tell you about them.

Keep the fire burning

The undertaking that I gave on becoming President of the International Diabetes Federation is the same undertaking that was given by every President since the founding of our Federation more than sixty years ago – including such illustrious figures as Maria de Alva, Sir George Alberti, Pierre Lefèbvre, Martin Silink and, my immediate predecessor, Jean Claude Mbanya. But I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by the Federation. This is a moment of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.

Where are we now?

It is good to be back! My previous contribution (2005-2007) as Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Voice seems a long time ago – much longer than it really is. That is probably because a great deal has happened recently in my professional life. The past 10 years have seen us establishing a new medical school in my home city of Swansea, UK. We are now seeing our newly qualified doctors embarking on their careers in medicine, some of them, I hope, inspired to contribute to the world diabetes scene of the future.

And the wheel keeps turning

Back in 2009, I was standing in the foyer on the first floor of the conference centre in Montreal – those of you lucky enough to have attended that meeting may remember the entrance on the ground floor at the corner and the wall of coloured glass panels that made gorgeous coloured patterns on the floor when the sun shone. Those colours were vivid and so is the memory of that moment.

The beating heart of diabetes

At the International Diabetes Federation, we consider ourselves the ‘global voice’ of diabetes - we have done for more than 60 years. We have become an influential advocate for people affected by diabetes, convincing the world’s leaders of the urgent need for concerted action to turn the tables on the world’s chronic disease pandemic.(1,2) Yet our reasons for existing are as they were upon IDF’s inception in 1950. We are driven by the needs of our constituents: people with diabetes.

Going for gold!

Diabetes Voice is so named because it is intended to give a voice to people with diabetes across the world. In this special issue we have tried to interpret our mission very literally and many of our pages are filled by people’s own accounts of their life with diabetes.

Widening IDF’s footprint

During the first quarter of this year, we began to see the impact and results of the alliances and partnerships forged over the previous 12 months. We are seeing the increasing strength and influence of IDF’s Member Associations, amplified through global alliances which underline our external focus. Diabetes is a complex condition – from its multi-pronged aetiology and relentless disease path to the multifaceted approach required to manage diabetes on a daily basis.

Phoenix rising: a better future for diabetes care?

Diabetes is, depressingly, coming of age – as has been forewarned incessantly in these pages over the past decade by a succession of IDF presidents, editors and expert authors. The paradox of the modern world offsets the potential benefits of globalization and rising prosperity (for some) with the personal and economic costs of the rising tide of diabetes and other costly chronic diseases – adding to the constellation of other serious socioeconomic and health challenges facing the world.


Our Federation is an umbrella organization of over 200 national diabetes associations. They are our Member Associations and represent our global constituency. They are the backbone of the worldwide diabetes community. They work hard and they work well. It is thanks to the evidence on diabetes provided by our Member Associations that the IDF Diabetes Atlas is a respected source of diabetes statistics.


Welcome to the first Diabetes Voice of 2012 – our first edition following the very successful IDF World Diabetes Congress in Dubai. Your editorial team were at the Congress, and President Elect Sir Michael Hirst reflects on it in these pages. As he points out, there is a lot of diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa and it is right to take the IDF World Diabetes Congress to such hot spots. I do, of course, refer to the high prevalence of diabetes with this term – although the weather was pretty good too! Raising the profile of diabetes in that region is important.