2012-11-13 17:09:57 - “Pakistan is currently ranked at 7th Number in diabetic population and feared to become 4th by year 2030, if no interventions are placed in. These are precious lives, which can be saved if more awareness is given on prevention and effective treatment” - H.E. Ole E. Moesby, Danish Ambassador to Pakistan”
Islamabad, 13 November: According to reports, there are estimated 7 million people suffering from diabetes in Pakistan, which makes Pakistan the seventh highest population affected by diabetes in the world. It is also estimated that by 2030, Pakistan will have the fourth largest diabetic population in the world— around 13.8 million people, if no effective interventions are put in place, as estimated by International Diabetic Federation. “These are very alarming statistics” stated the Danish Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Ole E. Moesby during a meeting with Dr Guido Sabatinelli, Country Representative for World Health Organization (WHO) in Pakistan.
The Ambassador said that “People need to have the access to the most appropriate treatment. Many people do not even know their diabetic condition.
It should be a possibility to screen these people in order to give them the assistance they need. We must build foundations for good and healthy life reducing the risk of developing diabetes. This will not only be beneficial for undiagnosed diabetic persons, but will also bring economic benefit to the society”.
Dr. Sabatinelli stated that epidemiology and determinants of diabetes in Pakistan have a peculiar combination of features: genetic, intrauterine factors, high carbohydrate diet lacking in certain amino acids and micronutrients, low physical activity along with maternal malnutrition. There are also other factors related to un-healthy life styles, that if not causing they are contributing to the complications of diabetes, such as smoking, use of drugs, unhealthy diet etc.
Dr. Sabatinelli further said that “As the combination of these features is unique, it requires investigations and development of a structured surveillance to identify the high risk individuals. The situation calls for Development of a comprehensive plan for prevention and control of diabetes to ensure that these services are available at the level of Primary Health Care and close to the people”. WHO Representative added that prevention and control of diabetes within a national framework for controlling and preventing non communicable diabetes (NCD) is the most appropriate strategy for Pakistan as most of NCDs are interlinked. In this regards, WHO has developed evidence based tools used by many countries and could be implemented in Pakistan.
Both the Ambassador and WHO Pakistan Representative discussed the strategic framework for a National Diabetes plan for Pakistan. The Ambassador shared some key areas based on the experiences, which Denmark had by launching their National Diabetes Plan in 2003. Ambassador Moesby said “I hope that by sharing some of the experiences we have had in Denmark can contribute to the debate on developing a national plan for Pakistan”.
Mr. Moesby reflected on the challenges but also opportunities for the medical services in Pakistan. “Whereas, on one side, Pakistan is facing a lot of challenges in delivering basic health services in certain areas of the country, it is also showing some great developments within health innovation. Organizations are investing in establishing innovation cells. However, all efforts need to be synergized and streamlined into the main society and thereby benefit the overall population. Every country needs to have a national strategy, where both the affected and those who may be in the risk group, are taken on board and given a road map”.