Diabetes affects more than half a billion people (537 million) worldwide, according to the latest figures from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Nearly half of this number are undiagnosed, placing them at higher risk of complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness and nerve damage. Awareness of the condition and the right education to manage it are key to diabetes care, with nursing professionals playing a vital role.
Since 1991, 14 November has been recognised as World Diabetes Day, established by IDF and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. This year’s campaign focused on the crucial role of diabetes education, with events and initiatives designed to promote the importance of ensuring access to ongoing diabetes education for healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes. With the number of people living with the condition expected to rise to more than 640 million by 2030, effective education and support now is crucial.
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In an effort to help curb the rise of diabetes, WHO Member States have agreed ambitious global diabetes coverage targets, to be achieved by 2030. These include identifying and diagnosing four in five of all diabetes cases and ensuring good control of blood sugar and blood pressure. A great deal of work will be required for these targets to be achieved, with diabetes education playing a central role.
According to IDF research, people living with diabetes only spend around three hours per year in consultation with a healthcare professional. This means that for the majority of the time, they are looking after the condition themselves. Ongoing access to diabetes education is important to successfully manage the condition and help prevent complications.
Helping healthcare professionals
Ongoing diabetes education is also important for healthcare professionals. They must be able to identify people at high risk, diagnose the condition early and provide the right advice and tools to support ongoing self-care. Ensuring educational resources and training are available and accessible to healthcare professionals helps keep their diabetes knowledge up-to-date.
Ongoing global commitment
To this end, IDF is committed to helping achieve the WHO coverage targets and ensuring the provision of better diabetes care on a global scale. To facilitate opportunities for nurses and people living with diabetes, the IDF School of Diabetes offers free online courses to help better understand the condition and support with ongoing professional development.
We need to provide diabetes education today to protect tomorrow.
Professor Andrew Boulton, President of the International Diabetes Federation