On January 27, 2022, the Executive Board, having considered the reports of the Director-General on the political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, recommended the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly to adopt a number of actions and recommendations.
The diabetes community welcomes the following resolutions:
WHO’s Global Health Estimates 2020 showed that deaths from NCDs are on the rise. In high-income countries, although the premature death rate for people living with diabetes decreased from 2000 to 2010, it increased over the period 2010–2016. In low- and middle-income countries, the premature death rate due to diabetes increased across both periods.
In this context, we welcome the extension of the Roadmap’s 2023-2030 target to reduce by one third the overall mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory diseases, and generally, halt the rise in diabetes and obesity. In 2023, WHO Member States are encouraged to take measures to accelerate progress where actions have not been effective, and to reorient and accelerate parts of their domestic action plans, with a view to place themselves on a sustainable path to achieving the 8 voluntary extended global targets and SDG target 3.4.1 agenda by 2030. The political commitments towards SDG target 3.8 on UHC specifically is an opportunity to include diabetes prevention and control in benefit packages and address diabetes more effectively and equitably, as well as to ensure financial protection for the most vulnerable.
Limited progress has been made in preventing and treating diabetes as part of efforts to meet SDG target 3.8 on achieving universal health coverage. Only two thirds of countries report having time-bound NCD targets, which may include targets of no increase in diabetes and obesity and improved access to medicines and technologies, in line with the nine voluntary global targets of the WHO Global Monitoring Framework. A recent review by the WHO Secretariat of progress towards the target of halting the rise of diabetes against a 2010 baseline showed that only 14 countries are expected to be on track by 2025, with no additional countries achieving the target by 2030.
According to WHO recommendations, opportunities exist to strengthen and monitor diabetes responses within NCD programmes. Some of the key potential solutions include the implementation of diabetes as a tracer condition for all NCDs, improved accountability though the set-up of time-bound national targets and indicators for diabetes and obesity prevention and control; the increasing use of digital technologies; and the promotion of inclusiveness by increasing participation of PwD in policy design and raising awareness of diabetes among the public and policymakers.
The Secretariat also recommends that five voluntary global diabetes coverage targets be established to be achieved by 2030:
- 80% of people with diabetes are diagnosed
- 80% of people with diagnosed diabetes have good control of glycaemia
- 80% of people with diagnosed diabetes have good control of blood pressure
- 60% of people with diabetes receive statins
- 100% of people with type 1 diabetes have access to insulin and blood glucose self-monitoring
The ambition behind the Workplan 2022-2025 is to amplify and foster meaningful engagement among WHO, Member States, and non-state actors, including civil society, people living with or affected by NCDs, relevant private sector and academia. The Workplan will focus on strengthening knowledge collaboration and the dissemination of innovative multistakeholder responses at country level, by co-creating, enhancing and disseminating evidence-based information to support governments on effective multisectoral and multistakeholder approaches. Another priority action is to provide guidance to Member States on engagement with non-State actors, including on the prevention and management of potential risks of NCDs. The Workplan 2022-2025 also identifies pathways to amplify the voice of people living with NCDs and build capacity for their meaningful participation in national NCD responses.
WHO’s strong emphasis on tackling diabetes and other NCDs across a number of actions aligns well with the priorities of the Commission’s recently launched EU NCD Initiative – Healthier Together. The Initiative targets diabetes as an individual NCD and funds are planned to be allocated under the 2022 EU4Health Work Programme to help Member States implement actions on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Addressing the burden of diabetes in a sustainable and efficient way requires strong political commitment and accountability. We hope that WHO resolutions as well as the Commission’s Initiative Healthier Together will be accompanied by comparable and impactful key indicators and targets for diabetes and other NCDs at national level.