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Africa | World

IDF calls for global action to keep diabetic children alive

afrol News, 13 October - International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has today announced its plan to push for global action to safeguard lives of thousands of children living with diabetes in developing countries.

A meeting on how to access essential diabetes medicines for children in developing world, will be held next Saturday in London, United Kingdom.

IDF has reportedly invited ministries of health from various developing countries, leaders from pharmaceutical industry, philanthropic foundations, leading supply-chain management firms, diabetes associations, along with professional societies in paediatrics and diabetes education.

"We are bringing together people and organisations that can provide not only interim humanitarian response to save lives, but can lay groundwork for sustainable solutions that will benefit all children with diabetes," president of IDF, Dr Martin Silink said.

Diabetes is one of most common chronic diseases to affect children. Reports show that every day, more than 200 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, requiring them to take multiple daily insulin shots and monitor glucose levels in their blood.

They further indicate that disease is increasing at a rate of three percent each year among children, adding that it rising even faster in pre-school children at a rate of five percent per year, especially in developing countries.

At moment, over 500,000 children under the age of 15 reportedly live with diabetes.

For children in developing world with type 1 diabetes, picture is bleak, report says. Close to 75,000 children in low-income and lower-middle income countries are said to be living with diabetes in desperate circumstances.

Reports show that these children need life-saving insulin to survive, adding that even more children are in need of monitoring equipment, test strips and education required to manage their diabetes and avoid life-threatening complications associated with disease.

IDF reports further indicate that a child's access to appropriate medication and care should be a right not a privilege.

"Stark reality is that many children in developing countries die soon after diagnosis," president-elect of IDF, Dr Jean-Claude Mbanya said.

Dr Mbanya added, "It's been 87 years since discovery of insulin, yet many of world's most vulnerable citizens, including many children, die needlessly because of lack of access to this essential drug. This is a global shame. We owe it to future generations to address this issue now."

In many developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of Asia, life-saving diabetes medication and monitoring equipment is often unavailable or unaffordable, reports say.

As a result, many children with diabetes are said to die soon after diagnosis, or have poor control and quality of life, and develop devastating complications of disease early.

"1000 children that we support represent a pitifully small number of those in need. It seems unthinkable that diabetes care remains beyond reach of so many. Solutions are available now to address issues of affordability and accessibility," Dr Silink said.

IDF is an umbrella organisation of over 200 member associations in more than 160 countries, advocating for more than 250 million people with diabetes, their families, and their healthcare providers. Its mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.

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