We will not remain idle waiting for the second wave or the next pandemic!

Disruptions caused by the current pandemic, such as restrictive lockdown measures, modified living conditions and inadequate access to care have placed a huge burden on people living with diabetes. Recent studies have also demonstrated that people living with diabetes are at higher risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19 and figures sadly tend to indicate that people living with diabetes having contracted the disease are more likely to be hospitalised, with potentially, worse outcomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in healthcare systems across Europe and lessons must now be drawn to start building a stronger and more resilient diabetes ecosystem.

To map the challenges faced by people living with diabetes and their relatives/carers, but also to help uncover the innovative actions and solutions which were implemented during the crisis, IDF Europe is launching two surveys to get the views and perspectives from people living with diabetes and healthcare professionals. The surveys are currently available in 13 languages from the links below. Additional languages will be available soon.

Your input, as a person living with diabetes, healthcare professional and/or diabetes association, is key to allow us to act and develop a set of policy recommendations that we will present to national and pan-European policymakers and other relevant diabetes stakeholders, to:

  • Prepare healthcare systems and the diabetes community to better address a potential second wave of COVID-19 and other health emergencies in the future;
  • Use the experiences of people living with diabetes and healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 crisis to achieve lasting systemic change in the way diabetes care is organised and deployed;
  • Ensure that diabetes remains a high priority for policymakers and health professionals at all times.

We thank all those who have contributed to the development of the surveys and all diabetes associations that have kindly accepted to translate them.

Take the survey in your own language here:

Български (Bulgarian) : 

Čeština (Czech):





Ελληνικά (Greek):

Македонски (Macedonian):



Osoby z cukrzycą
Dla personelu medycznego


Persoanele cu diabet
Furnizorii de servicii medicale

русский (Russian):

Suomalainen (Finnish):

The following languages will be available soon:

  • Albanian
  • Bulgarian
  • Dutch
  • Italian
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Serbian
  • Slovenian
  • Turkish

In April-May 2020, IDF held a consultation with its networks, including the Blue Circle Voices (BCV), with the aim of learning more about the smoking habits of people living with diabetes and their perspective on tobacco. 178 people responded to the survey.

Key findings included:

  • 81% of respondents who used to smoke indicated having noticed an improvement in their health after stopping smoking.
  • 80% of respondents were aware that smoking is among the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and can have an impact on the management and control of all types of diabetes.
  • 63% of respondents who currently smoke indicated that they were never offered support from a health professional to stop smoking.
  • 58% of respondents who currently smoke indicated that smoking did not have any negative impact on their health.
  • A majority of respondents searched for information on the link between diabetes and tobacco on their own.
  • 48% of respondents who used to smoke indicated that their diabetes diagnosis influenced their decision to stop smoking.
  • 39% of respondents who currently smoke indicated the main reason why they did not stop smoking was because they did not want to

Click on the image to download the full results in pdf.  

Tobacco report cover

Faroe Islands

World Diabetes Day activities

Bátasavnið 2 Faroe Islands   Faroe Islands Hoyvíkar kirkja

To mark World Diabetes Day, the Faroese Diabetes Association organised a meeting about type 2 diabetes and the latest forms of treatment, which was presented by a specialist doctor from the out patient clinic at the national hospital. This highly interactive meeting, with many exchanges, questions and answers, was held in a pleasant setting at a boat-museum and attended by about 50 people.

The Tower in the church in Hoyvík, Torshavn, was also illuminated with blue light on World Diabetes Day as it has been for the past five years.

In November, the board of the Faroese Diabetes Association also met with the new Minister of Health, Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the Minister about the association's work and to offer help and expertise with regard to continuing to maintain good conditions for people with diabetes in the Faroe Islands.


French Diabetes Federation campaign against prohibited professions - "People with diabetes, some jobs turn their backs on you!"

Picture1 France 

For World Diabetes Day 2019, the French Diabetes Federation (an association of people with diabetes, serving people with diabetes and led by people with diabetes, which represents four million people living with diabetes across 100 local associations and delegations) launched a campaign – "People living with diabetes, some jobs turn their backs on you", designed to raise awareness of the fact that today in France and in Europe, if you have diabetes, you are excluded from joining some professions including airplane pilot, firefighter, train driver or police officer, and to call on the French authorities to change the legislation. This legislation is out of date and does not take into account recent therapeutic progress, technological innovation and how these jobs themselves have evolved over time.

A petition was launched asking for the revision of the regulatory texts that prohibit people with diabetes from accessing certain professions so that they can perform the job of their choice, according to their abilities and the state of their health, on a case by case basis.

What happens in other countries?

As has been shown in other countries which have allowed people with diabetes to perform these jobs, this discrimination is no longer necessary. For example:

  • In Canada, it is possible to become an airline pilot when you have diabetes. Pilots with diabetes must fly with another pilot and monitor their blood glucose levels before each flight, every hour in flight and 30 minutes before landing.
  • In the UK, since 2012, qualified pilots and air traffic controllers with diabetes treated with insulin and other drugs can perform all operational tasks including commercial aircraft flights.
  • In the United States, a person with type 1 or 2 diabetes who is treated with insulin can become as a firefighter if they meet certain medical criteria and manage their diabetes well. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced new protocols for insulin-treated diabetes, which will allow them to fly commercial airplanes. The ADA is following the development of this new protocol.

Solidarity across borders

The campaign has been supported by the Diabetes Association of Spain (Fede), Diabetes UK, Andrew Boulton (IDF President), and Douglas Cairns (Flying with diabetes). Solidarity across borders has already achieved much progress.


“We are all one big family!”

Georgia picture 1    Georgia picture 2    Georgia picture 3

The Georgian Diabetes Association has been celebrating World Diabetes Day (WDD) since 1992 and has successfully made diabetes a top-of-mind disease in the country. On the occasion of the 2019 WDD, the Georgian Association organised an event in the King Tamar Hall of the Tbilisi City Hall, under the slogan “We all are one big family, loving, supporting, and caring for each other”.

Participants included children, adolescents and adults living with diabetes as well as their families, members of the Health Committee of the Tbilisi Municipality, representatives of the Ministry of Health of Georgia, the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), the Georgian Red Cross Society and other NGOs working in the field of diabetes and/or other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The event included speeches, discussions, folk dances (Kids’ Falk Dance Troup Rustaveli) as well as prizes and awards for children with the best glycemic management, all in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. Data from the latest edition of the 9th Edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas was presented for the first time, and attracted much interest. Positive feedback was received from the Head of the Health Committee of the Tbilisi Municipality, the Deputy Minister of Health of Georgia, and the Head of the NCDC.

The TV tower was lit in blue during the evening, while an exhibition of drawings of children with diabetes and a show were organised by the Georgia Society of Pediatric Endocrinologists at the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic. A Diabetes Walk was also organised by the Welfare Foundation-Georgia. The walk ended in front of the Municipality building, with the participants joining the WDD event.


World Diabetes Day Conference


The Association of Endocrinologists of Kazakhstan held a conference on November 14, 2019 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, focused on "Modern approaches to the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the light of the ADA-EASD and the Kazakh Consensus", in which 32 doctors participated. Some of the event speakers included Professor Bazarbekova Rimma, Professor Dzhunusbekova Gulnara, and Associate Professor Tundybaeva. 


APDP activities

World Diabetes Day and diabetes awareness month

APDP 3 Glow Foto 095    WDD2019 7 Turkey

On November 14, together with the Lisbon City Council, ADPD held a public information session in the form of a play to discuss the importance of the family in diabetes care, management and prevention. During the play “When the phone rings”, performed by the APDP Theatre Group, the public was invited to replace one of the actors and help find a solution to the presented problem/situation.

Again with the Lisbon City Council, a night walk was organised on November 16. Departing from Jardim 9 de Abril, the more than 200 “Lisbon Viewpoint Night Walk” participants made a 5km tour through several viewpoints of Lisbon and arrived at Praça do Império, where they formed a human blue circle. 

Other events organised in November included the 3rd APDP National Congress and 11th Diabetes Educators Congress, which took place on November 21-23 in Lisbon. This is a scientific event, the theme of which was “Portrait of the multiple sides of diabetes”.

Later in the month, Lisbon was officially celebrated as the 9th European City to join the international “Cities Changing Diabetes” programme, of which APDP is a partner. The initiative will focus on developing measures and activities to address the challenge of diabetes in the City of Lisbon. 

In parallel to this, APDP runs an ongoing project “Diabetes in the Neighbourhood”. In three neighbourhoods of the parish of Penha de França, activities will be developed to screen and identify groups at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Educational sessions will also be held to promote health literacy and the empowerment of people living with diabetes and prediabetes, their families, and caregivers, among other community interventions.

Other activities

Portugal Ernesto Roma    APDP Summer Camp

On July 5-19, APDP organised a biographical exhibition “Ernesto Roma – Life and Work”, in the North Section of the College of Physicians, in Porto. Ernesto Roma, one of the greatest figures of Portuguese medicine in the 20th century, founded the first diabetes association in the world in Lisbon and was responsible for introducing the concept of therapeutic education in insulin treatment for people with diabetes in Portugal. The exhibition was conceived based on the doctor's personal items, provided by Viana do Castelo City Council, as well as on existing documentation produced by APDP.

On August 4-9, ADPD organised its annual Summer Camp for young people with diabetes between 13 and 18 years of age. The camp took place in Quinta do Crestelo, Seia. The camp aims to help youth deal with feelings of isolation, frequently experienced in that age group, as well as foster the exchange of experiences, all in a fun environment. 


World Diabetes Day activities

Slovenia 250px   Slovenia blue 250px

The Slovenian Diabetes Association (SLODA) launched its World Diabetes Day campaign on November 9, with a national celebration in Škofja Loka, which also marked the 30th anniversary of Škofja Loka’s local diabetes association.

On November 14, SLODA held a press conference with top diabetes experts in Slovenia – Prof Dr Andrej Janež, Head of Clinical Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, University Hospital Centre Ljubljana; Prof Dr Tadej Battelino, Head of Clinical Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes in Metabolic Disease, Pediatric Clinic, University Hospital Centre Ljubljana; Prof Dr Zlatko Fras, Director of the Internal Clinic UKC Ljubljana; Dr Matija Cevc, President of Slovenian Heart Foundation and Robert Gratton, President of the Slovenian Diabetes Association. The conference focused on several themes including “Diabetes protect your family”, new approaches to treat diabetes, how to prevent cardiovascular diseases and the link between diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
On November 28, representatives of the Slovenian Diabetes Association joined the National Diabetes conference organised by the Ministry of Health, which included a discussion on the new national plan for people with diabetes over 2020-2030.

As in every year, buildings, sculptures, and monuments were also illuminated in blue. This year marked a record, with 51 such illuminations all over in Slovenia. As has been the case for several years now, SLODA in collaboration with the Association of Radio Amateurs of Slovenia also celebrated World Diabetes Day with special call signs (S55T and S50G) to raise public awareness of diabetes nationwide and internationally. 


World Diabetes Day activities

Turkey WDD 1 250px   Turkey WDD 2 250px   Turkey WDD 3 250px


The Turkish Diabetes Association also organised a series of events in November, to raise awareness of diabetes, under the theme of Protect Your Family. This included the creation of a 25-second video about the risk factors and symptoms of type 2 diabetes. The video was showed in the public transport system during the week of 11-17 November. Leaflets on the same theme were also distributed in various public places.

On November 8 and 9 respectively, footballers from two Turkish football league teams, Kasimpasa and Sivasspor, entered the field carrying a banner saying Diabetes: Protect your family.
Two information desks were also set up in busy Istanbul places –Kadikoy and Uskudar – where a specialist doctor and nurse told people about diabetes and conducted a test to ascertain their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. To emphasise the importance of exercise in the management of diabetes, an exercise bike was placed at those locations. Zumba sessions were also conducted during the events.

  • Meetings were also organised in collaboration with various district municipalities, which were attended by close to 1200 people.
  • On November 15, the Turkish Diabetes Association walked through Beyoglu, a famous and busy street in Istanbul.
  • The Galata Tower, a famous historic building, was lit up in blue on both November 14 and 15.
  • Our running team, TEAM1, attended the Istanbul Marathon on November 3, with the team forming a Blue Circle before they started to run

Overall, from November 1 to 25, 13,250 people took the diabetes risk test, and events received covereage in 296 different media channels.

In October 2018, IDF held a consultation with its networks, including the Blue Circle Voices (BCV), with the objective of gathering their views on the UN HLM Political Declaration and IDF's preliminary statement. Some 78 participants responded to the survey.

More than 91% of them fully supported the statement.

Learn more about IDF's networks' views on the matter by downloading the  highlights report.
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