The Central and Eastern European Policy Summit’s roadmap to improve diabetes

18 April 2019

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The Summit gathered some 30 participants from IDF’s European Region and its members, AstraZeneca, policy-makers and advocates.

Around 7.5 million people are living with diabetes in Central and Eastern-European (CEE) countries. Although progress has been made in efforts to tackle this health and economic challenge, further improvements are urgent in a region where mortality from this condition is twice that of the EU as a whole.

Hosted by the Polish Diabetes Association, the IDF European Region (IDF Europe), together with AstraZeneca, organized the Central European Policy Diabetes Summit in Warsaw on 28 March. The meeting shared best practices in diabetes policy-making and followed up on approaches by CEE countries to strengthen efforts to build effective policy and advocacy strategies to reduce diabetes prevalence throughout the Region.

In her welcome address, IDF Europe Board Member Nebojsa Lalic stressed the need to build and implement a strong multi-stakeholder approach to address the pressing disparity between the diabetes prevalence in the CEE countries (7.3%) and across the the European Union as a whole (6.4%).

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A number of specific approaches were described to showcase potential achievements to this end. The summit chair, Maciej T. Małecki, explained the situation currently faced by people living with diabetes in Poland. While the former Polish Diabetes Association president, Leszek Czupryniak, shared policy achievements made under the country’s diabetes framework. However, he also pointed out the difficulties confronting the CEE countries and their health systems at every political change, and he stressed the need to “combine small steps with global strategies and solutions”.

An expert working group was established during the summit to consolidate a catalogue of better practices from both within and outside the region. This will serve to address barriers and explore opportunities towards engendering policy recommendations and establishing strong links between the expert group and members of IDFs IMPACT Network of national parliamentarians, who are working to improve diabetes prevention and care.

Diabetes registries, access to care and innovation, and multi-level care were identified as some of the challenges the region is facing, issues that were identified at the inception of the three working groups.

Following the first and second CEE Policy Summits in Copenhagen (December 2018) and Warsaw, a third one will take place in Bulgaria in this November. The CEE Diabetes Policy Summit in Warsaw is part of the Early Action in Diabetes initiative, launched in 2015 by AstraZeneca in partnership with IDF, Primary Care Diabetes Europe and the World Heart Federation. One of IDF Europe’s key objectives at the Summits is to leverage and strengthen the IMPACT initiative, motivating members of national parliaments to improve policies, positively affecting the lives of people with diabetes across Europe.