President calls for continued efforts to check high prevalence of diabetes in Pakistan

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

November 13, Islamabad: Pakistan may have eighth highest population of diabetic patients worldwide by 2040 if proper measures for awareness and treatment are not adopted. Such high prevalence of diabetes in Pakistan calls for continued efforts to improve public awareness on diabetes care and treatment, so these alarming figures may be restrained. This was the key message from President Mamnoon Hussain while attending the Diabetes Awareness Walk and Blue-lightening ceremony in commemoration of 25th World Diabetes Day.

The large-scale event, which had more than 3000 people attending from the Government, diplomatic core, civil society, healthcare institutions, academia and media, was held at the Presidency as part of a collaboration with Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad and Danish pharma company Novo Nordisk Pakistan.

Professor Javed Akram, Vice Chancellor, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad appreciated the support and participation of President Mamnoon Hussain on this important subject. He marked the World Diabetes Day celebration at the Presidency an unprecedented event in the history of Pakistan. Professor Akram stated that with the kind patronage of His Excellency Mr Mamnoon, Chancellor of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University and President of Pakistan, a clear message was sent to the global Diabetes fraternity of the untiring resolve to combat Diabetes, which remains one of the greatest health dangers in Pakistan.

At the event, President Hussain inaugurated various stalls and exhibitions displaying information desks and material on diabetes and conducted a symbolic diabetes walk with the participants to highlight the importance of exercise. Concluding the event, President switched on the symbolic blue-light surrounding the Presidency.

His Excellency, Mr Ole Thonke, Danish Ambassador to Pakistan appreciated the initiatives by Government of Pakistan, which are crucial in order to improve the quality of life for people with diabetes in Pakistan. He highlighted the experiences from Denmark regarding diabetes

awareness, prevention and control. “With a strong national policy initiative and an extensive public - private partnership including with medical experts, Denmark has come a long way to prevent and treat diabetes. This partnership in Denmark is extended at global level including here in Pakistan where we work in close collaboration with relevant authorities and stakeholders”, said Ambassador Thonke.

Mr. Rana Azfar, GM Novo Nordisk Pakistan said that Novo Nordisk was extremely grateful to President Mamnoon Hussain for supporting their initiative by taking a lead in raising awareness on the important need to adopt a healthier lifestyle to curb the high prevalence of diabetes among the people in Pakistan. Mr. Azfar shared that the increasing prevalence in type 2 diabetes in Pakistan has developed alongside rapid social changes, ageing populations, increasing urbanization and especially poor dietary habits and reduced physical activity. “Encouraging good habits” is a lifelong process which needs to start from early age, which is why Novo Nordisk is committed to supporting public awareness on the fight against diabetes at all levels. The public must however also play their part by learning more about risk factors and leading healthy lifestyles and encouraging others to do so. Together, we can promote healthy communities and families and protect the future generations of Pakistan,” said Mr. Azfar.

Currently, over 7 million people are living with diabetes in Pakistan while another seven million are on the verge of developing diabetes if no preventive measures are taken.  It is estimated that the number of diabetic people in Pakistan may reach 14.4 million by 2040.