13 November 2009

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

"I Urge the International Community and International Development Agencies to Support Developing Countries in Preventing Diabetes"

Message on World Diabetes Day, 14 November 2009

VIENNA, 13 November 2009 (UN Information Service) - Diabetes kills at least one million people every year, many of them in developing countries and many well before their anticipated life expectancy. It can make other diseases worse, and can have a terrible impact on maternal and child health. In some countries, the rapidly rising burden of diabetes is a factor in faltering progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Yet Type 2 diabetes is preventable. It is among the so-called "lifestyle diseases" - along with cardio-vascular disease and some cancers - attributable to unhealthy diets, a lack of exercise, tobacco use and the abuse of alcohol.

This means that effective strategies and plans of action will not be limited to the health sector alone. Rather, they should involve many areas of government and a wide range of actors, including civil society and the private sector.

The UN system, for its part, is fully engaged in helping countries to deal with the challenges posed by diabetes. Prevention can help reduce poverty, promote economic productivity and keep countries on track in their efforts to achieve the MDGs.

On World Diabetes Day, I urge the international community and international development agencies to support developing countries in preventing diabetes and increasing access to health care.

* *** *