No family is untouched by diabetes – World Diabetes Week 2018

09 November 2018

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Every year, the World Diabetes Day (WWD) is a great opportunity to raise awareness on the escalating health threat posed by diabetes at European, national and local level.

This year 2018-2019, the WWD focuses on the theme “Family and Diabetes”. Over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which is preventable through physical activity, a healthy diet and healthy living environments. Families have a key role to play in addressing these modifiable risk factors and must be provided with the education, resources and environments to live a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, diabetes can be expensive and thus improving access to affordable diabetes medicines and care is urgent to avoid increased costs for the individual and family, which impact on health outcomes.

WDD is crucial for the highlight of high-level advocacy efforts towards Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). This year, the WWD coincided with the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg. In the regional office, we enjoyed the opportunity to raise our voice not only in Brussels but also in Strasbourg, through the organisation of simultaneous and parallel awareness raising activities.

At the European Parliament in Strasbourg (13-15 November)

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Throughout the week, IDF Europe team, french member Fédération Française des Diabétiques (FFD) and the nurses from Centre Européen d’Etude du Diabète (CEED) were present at the Flower carpet exhibition area in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. We thank also for our corparte partner Insulet for their committemnt and support on  13 November.

Among the activities, we offered to MEPs and staff a blood glucose testing conducted by the nurses colleagues from CEED to sensitize about the importance of regular testing and early diagnosis.

Not only supporting MEPs dropped by our stand, but also European Commissioners did! Health and transport Commissioners, Vytenis Andriukaitis and Violeta Bulc, showed comittement and tested their glucose level together with our rehional manager!

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Besides, since diabetes can be prevented and managed through healthy diet, this year we proposed the ‘Healthy bowl’, a healthy and tasty option to have for lunch at the restuarant of the European Parliament.

Afternoon debate

But the main course of the week was the lunch debate that took place on 13 November. Under this year theme “Families and Diabetes”, the debate was a cross-party event hosted by Francis Zammit Dimech MEP. The objective of this high-level debate was facilitate a discussion between MEPs, the Commission and social and health experts on subjects affecting diabetes such as the ageing of the population and teachers’ involvements on early diabetes management. Other MEPs from all around Europe contributed giving their inputs on this and other subjects.

Thanks to Thanks to MEP Francis Zammit for hosting us on this year World Diabetes Day and to MEPs Nicola Caputo, Marisa Matias, Anna Hedh, Roberta Metsola, Jana Žitňanská, speakers Ms Katarzyna Gajewska, Dr Isabelle Bourdel-Marchasson and board member Bastian Hauck for their support.

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At the European Commission in Brussels (13-15 November)

Our Raising awareness activities were also performed at the European Commission in Brussels between 13 – 15 November. Over 700 blood glucose tests were performed providing us with an excellent window to educate participants about diabetes, its prevention and complications. The exhibition on diabetes prevention presents the key messages of diabetes in engaging graphics and various European languages. Furthermore, educational flyers on risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes were given out which allowed us to promote IDF Europe as a frontline organisation representing people living with diabetes as well as healthcare professionals. 

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We would like to thank Ms Viviane De Laveleye and Weronika Kowalska for dedicating their time during the three days of World Diabetes Day raising awareness activities. 

Moreover, our project and policy officer, Winne Ko together with Dr Ernest Karuranga, professional officer; offered a lunch presentation under the title “From individuals to families: key takeaways for the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes”. The presentation was live webstreamed and was followed by more that 300 online users! This presentation can be viwed for the next 24 months following this link.

Along the week, we were also very active on our Twitter  and Facebook accounts. Guess who engaged with us!

We do not forget the great efforts and activities performed by all of our European members. We wish to thank you for your dedication and creativity at national level during this year World Diabetes Day.

World Diabetes Day activities are supported by educational grants from Eli Lilly and Roche Diagnostics.