IDF statement on the ongoing situation in Ukraine

21 March 2022

The Board of the International Diabetes Federation and of IDF Europe express their unanimous outrage at the ongoing situation in Ukraine and unreservedly condemns the act of aggression visited on the people of Ukraine by Russian forces. We are extremely concerned for people living with diabetes in the Ukraine or displaced as a consequence of the unprovoked war.

The bombing of Ukraine, including the attacks on civilians and the bombing of hospitals has severely disrupted care for people with chronic diseases, including the more than 2.3 million people estimated to have been living with diabetes in the country before the invasion.

With widespread damage to infrastructure, people face drug shortages or difficulties in reaching distribution points. Damage to medical facilities will severely hinder the possibility of delivering care.

Those forced to flee for their lives will need ongoing support in the countries where they seek refuge. We call on healthcare systems to act fast to make sure that refugees with diabetes receive the care they need and to help individuals to normalise their blood glucose to protect against the life-threatening and debilitating complications of diabetes.

Many living with diabetes will already be living with one or more of the complications of diabetes and will be facing extreme difficulty to manage in the current circumstances. Many may not have been able to flee the fighting and must face a future of extreme uncertainty.

People living with diabetes need ongoing support and access to a reliable supply of essential medications. Any disruption to the supply of insulin for people who need it to manage their diabetes is a potential death sentence. This situation facing Ukrainians with diabetes is compounded by disruption to food and water supplies, and utilities. IDF Global, working closely with IDF Europe have already been very active in helping to ensure the delivery of medications and devices that people with diabetes may require. We are working closely with our member Direct Relief, who we wish to thank for their work in an extremely dangerous situation.

Colleagues in Ukraine working to care for people with diabetes have given us disturbing accounts of the current situation. In the aftermath of this war, the medical care structure will need to be rebuilt.

We express our gratitude to the agencies that have acted fast to deliver medical supplies and aid to support Ukrainian citizens, including IDF partners and members who responded quickly to provide relief.

We call for an immediate end to the war.