New boost to the fight against diabetes
With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, WHO launched a Global Diabetes Compact to speed up action on the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
Bringing together people living with diabetes, academia, civil society, the business community and more, the Compact aims to reduce the risk of diabetes and ensure that all people diagnosed with the condition have access to affordable, good quality care.
A new report published in November highlighted that insulin, a life-saving diabetes medicine, remains out of reach for a high proportion of the people who need it. WHO is working on a number of fronts to increase access to insulin and related products, with the priority to ensure uninterrupted production and supply of human insulin. The inclusion of insulin analogues on WHO’s Essential List of Medicines opens the door to their prequalification, which could increase competition and potentially reduce prices.
Our work on diabetes is just one part of our comprehensive efforts on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health. This is no small undertaking, given that NCDs claim the lives of 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally; depression alone constitutes a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Tobacco use fell
As to fateful choices for health and preventing NCDs, impressive numbers of people are deciding to stop smoking. Between 2000 and 2020, the number of people using tobacco dropped by 69 million — from around one third of the global population to under a quarter.
Two years ago, only 32 countries were on track to lower tobacco use by 30% between 2010 and 2025. Now, 60 countries are on course to achieve the target reduction.
Progress is fragile however, with the tobacco industry having exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to build influence with governments in many countries. The Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) endorsed a declaration on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and also established a funding mechanism to strengthen global tobacco control measures.
Tobacco users who would like to quit can draw on resources shared via WHO’s Commit to Quit campaign, including the ‘Quitters’ Diaries’, charting personal journeys in stepping away from tobacco.
Credit: World Health Organization
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