New WHA Resolution to bring much needed boost to diabetes prevention and control efforts

More than 420 million people are living with diabetes, a number that is expected to rise to 578 million by 2030. One in two adults living with diabetes type 2 are undiagnosed. Globally, 100 years after the discovery of insulin, half of the people with type 2 diabetes who need insulin are not receiving it. Between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% increase in premature mortality from diabetes. By contrast, during the same period, there was a decrease in premature mortality for all other main noncommunicable diseases. In addition, people living with diabetes have a higher risk of becoming severely ill and dying from COVID-19.

The Resolution agreed by the World Health Assembly today urges Member States to raise the priority given to the prevention, diagnosis and control of diabetes as well as prevention and management of risk factors such as obesity.

It recommends action in a number of areas including: the development of pathways for achieving targets for the prevention and control of diabetes, including access to insulin; the promotion of convergence and harmonization of regulatory requirements for insulin and other medicines and health products for the treatment of diabetes; and assessment of the feasibility and potential value of establishing a web-based tool to share information relevant to the transparency of markets for diabetes medicines and health products.

Delegates at the Assembly requested WHO to develop recommendations and provide support for strengthening diabetes monitoring and surveillance within national noncommunicable disease programmes and to consider potential targets. WHO was also asked to make recommendations on the prevention and management of obesity. All recommendations are to be submitted to the World Health Assembly for consideration in 2022. 

WHO was requested to provide guidance to Member States on the design and implementation of policies for diabetes prevention and control and to develop recommendations for adequate, predictable and sustained financing of diabetes prevention and control. 

Delegates asked WHO to submit a report on the implementation of the Resolution to the Health Assembly through the Executive Board, on an annual basis and as a component on the report on noncommunicable diseases, from 2022 to 2031.

Related links

Draft Resolution on reducing the burden of noncommunicable diseases through strengthening prevention and control of diabetes – May 2021 

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