ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar on Saturday highlighted the urgency and the scale of the challenge presented by diabetes in Pakistan.
She said this while addressing at the inaugural session of the Pakistan Diabetes Leadership Forum (PDLF) held here at a local hotel.
The Minister said that PDLF would be addressing not only one of the most critical public health issues in the world -but especially in Pakistan.
“Over the next two days, this forum shall seek to identify meaningful changes that can greatly improve the lives of people with diabetes and help more people to avoid diabetes through national and international prevention strategies”, the Minister said.
She thanked both the national and international participants for joining this important initiative to fight against diabetes.
The Minister emphasized that all of the participants attending the PDLF constitute the various stakeholders who need to collaborate to form a resolute response to diabetes through both policy and healthcare.
“The challenges is both great in size and media alike”, she said.
There are around 6.7 million people with diagnosed diabetes in Pakistan. It is estimated that this number will rise to 12.8 million by 2035, which puts Pakistan among the top countries with the highest number of population suffering from diabetes.
The first panel discussion consisted of high-level dignitaries such as Sir Michael Hirst, President of the International Diabetes Federation, Prof. Pierre Lefebvre, Chairman of the World Diabetes Foundation and Lars Rebien Sorensen, CEO and President of Novo Nordisk.
Concluding the first panel round, Sorensen said that diabetes is a major challenge to the healthcare system in Pakistan as well as to people’s quality of life.
“We are here today to discuss concrete solutions for how to tackle diabetes in Pakistan going forward, how to better prevent the disease as well as increasing access to care and treatment,” he said.
Continuing the first day’s discussion, various panel discussions were held to discuss diabetes prevention and sustainable solutions for care including integrated approach to diabetes care and how to reach the Communicable Diseases 2013-2020.
Both national and international speakers discussed the challenges and interventions needed in the health system to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases.
International speakers also presented the International Diabetes Federation’s regional action plan and practical steps to support the development of national diabetes programs in the Middle-East and North African region.
Local perspectives on how to build capacity and deliver integrated care to prevent complications in Pakistan were also shared.
The event is being hosted by the Ministry of National Health Services, regulation and Coordination, Government of Pakistan in joint collaboration with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), the Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP), the Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE), the Pakistan Endocrine Society, the Sakina Institute of Diabetes and Endocrine Research (SiDER) and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) with support from the Danish global healthcare company Novo Nordisk.