Rights and responsibilities of people with diabetes

Last update: 05/02/2019

Diabetes is an urgent global public health challenge. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that diabetes currently affects over 425 million people, with this number expected to rise to over 600 million within a generation. Many millions more are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The major burden of diabetes increasingly falls on low and middle-income countries and impacts disproportionately on poorer, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, including indigenous peoples and minority communities in high-income countries.

As well as the human impact, the cost of diabetes to health services is great. Current IDF estimates indicate that diabetes was responsible for at least USD 727 billion dollars in health expenditure in 2017 – 12% of total global health expenditure.

The landmark United Nations Resolution 61/225 ("World Diabetes Day") states that "Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating and costly disease associated with severe complications, which pose severe risks for families, Member States and the entire world, and serious challenges to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals."

In 2011, IDF published the first ever Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, setting out the fundamental rights of all people living with diabetes. The Charter:

  • Acknowledges that people with diabetes can play an essential part in tackling the condition if they have the rights and opportunities to act as equal partners with healthcare providers and Governments.
  • Empasises that people with diabetes share the same human and social rights as people who do not have diabetes.
  • Supports the fundamental right of people with diabetes to live a full life with fair opportunities to learn and work.
  • Recognises that people with diabetes also have responsibilities.

The vision of the Charter is to:

  • Optimise the health and quality of life of people with diabetes.
  • Enable people with diabetes to have as normal a life as possible.
  • Reduce or eliminate the barriers to people with diabetes realising their full potential as members of society.

The Charter embraces the principles of health and human rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and builds on major human rights instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

IDF urges all patient and professional organisations and nation states to work to embed the principles outlined in the Charter in national plans for diabetes care, prevention, research and education and to ensure that their implementation is regularly monitored and reviewed.

  • IDF Charter of Rights and Responsibilities

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