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. Moreover, the world is waking up to the interplay between the multiplicities of interconnected external factors whose influence is exacerbating the global rise in NCD numbers. In today’s world of intricately interwoven economies and globalized means of production and retail, diabetes appears to have found dangerously fertile ground – particularly among poor and underserved people in low- and middle-income countries. Diabetes and other NCDs are stealthily engulfing even those communities that were previously considered low-risk.

It is far from coincidence, then, that the launch of the World Diabetes Day 2012 campaign also aims to expand our circle of influence beyond the borders of diabetes, while remaining focused on our core disciplines, including the development, publication and distribution of clinical guidelines. We are all part of the solution to this diabetes epidemic. Therefore, we are convening the different stakeholders and catalyzing dialogue. Our aim is to change the way people think of diabetes on two levels. Our target audience is those who refuse to accept that diabetes is any of their business, those already affected and those at risk. We are engaging these groups by drawing the direct links between diabetes and global health issues.

A good example is the climate change event at the recent World Health Assembly in Switzerland – a groundbreaking collaboration with a sector that is new to the all-of-society campaign being mounted by IDF against the current pandemic of NCDs and diabetes. The private health company, Bupa, was IDF’s joint host at the expert dialogue on diabetes and climate, where health and climate sectors gathered to discuss how jointly to tackle these serious challenges. The event brought type 2 diabetes and climate change into the spotlight, as two of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. Highlighted the connections between climate change and type 2 diabetes that are repeatedly overlooked in global policy dialogue.

A promising victory emerged from the 2011 UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs in New York: the target-25% by 2025. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge IDF Member Associations for their role in these achievements. However, we still have to fight for the other targets to be passed.

At the recent Rio+20 summit, the world leaders and experts came together to find effective solutions to the many deep fissures that are weakening the very fabric of human societal development – driven by the inexorable implosion of an inherently flawed and unjust financial system. Unfortunately, the event will change very little. The dismal results prove that there is still much work to be done in changing the mentality of governments and decision-makers worldwide. Diabetes is a real health issue with critical links to the environment and economic growth of countries.