Secretary General Diabetic Association of Pakistan – Prof. Samad Shera recently revealed that; Approximately 7 million people are suffering from diabetes in Pakistan and the same number of people are at the risk of developing disease.
He shared these statistics while addressing the Sanofi 2nd International Diabetes Conference held at a local hotel. The conference was organized by Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP) and Sanofi Pakistan in collaboration with WHO Collaborating Centre.
President of International Diabetes Federation (IDF) – Sir Michael Hirst, Managing Director Sanofi Pakistan – Ayub A Siddiqui and the Ambassador of an online initiative – “My Diabetes Story” – Ms Sana Ajmal also spoke at the forum.
Prof Shera said; According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) currently there are 7 million diabetic patients in Pakistan; by 2030 Pakistan is projected to have 14 million diabetics. The same number of people in Pakstan, are at risk of developing diabetes.
He said; diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in Pakistan and the situation might turn worse in the coming years, if the preventive measure are not adopted at the earliest. Unfortunately diabetes cases are also appearing in children and teenagers, which were rare victims in the past.
He said: Diabetes in young age, not only affects the human productivity, but also puts major burden on the national economy. Rising trends of fast food intake, less healthy activity, overweight, and family history of diabetes, are major factors behind the spread of diabetes cases in the young generation.
He said; The diabetes situation in Pakistan is alarming and it needs serious preventive strategies to reduce the cases in future. He advised the people to adopt a healthy life style to avoid diabetes and its related complications.
President International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Sir Michael Hirst pointed out that; 1/8th of the world’s population will have diabetes or be at risk of developing diabetes by 2035. Diabetes is an increasingly serious social, economic and medical threat faced by nations that must be a high priority of any developing country’s health policy as diabetes is not just a health issue, but a development issue that hinders progress”.
Rise in diabetes cases is a real challenge faced by the world and coordinated efforts were needed to tackle and reduce the cases in future. Media should educate people about prevention strategies along with the doctors.
Following the session, Sanofi announced the launch of a regional online initiative, “My Diabetes Story”. This is an online peer support portal, promoting communication between people with diabetes. Each country is represented by a diabetic patient who is in control of his/her diabetes, is leading a successful, healthy life and is passionate about raising awareness, education and a positive attitude about dealing with diabetes in societies and communities. These patients are known in ‘My Diabetes Story’ as the “Ambassadors”.
The program is supported by diabetes associations from around the MENA region, including the Pakistan Endocrine Society and features patient Ambassadors and members from multiple countries including UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan is the latest addition to the online community and joined the program with the appointment of its Ambassador – Sana Ajmal, who has the experience of having served as the Vice President and the President-Elect of the Young Leaders in Diabetes (YLD) which is an IDF program, aimed at identifying, nurturing and supporting young people with leadership qualities in the international diabetes community. Sana believes that “advocacy is the key to long term, sustainable, solutions for making the lives of people with diabetes, better than they are today”.