Prof Akhtar Hussain (1955-2024)

02 July 2024

It is with deep sadness and regret that the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) must announce the sudden passing of our President, Professor Akhtar Hussain.

Members of the Board, IDF staff and the 241 member associations of the Federation extend their most heartfelt condolences to Prof. Hussain’s family and friends at this time of great sadness.

Prof. Hussain was a long-serving volunteer and contributor to the activities of the Federation, with over 30 years of experience in diabetes research and education. Originally from Bangladesh, he pursued post-graduate and doctoral studies in the US and Norway and went on to hold senior cancer research and epidemiology positions in Norway, Brazil and Bangladesh. He served for many years as Professor of Medicine in Global Health at NORD University in Norway. In recognition of his contribution to diabetes, Prof Hussain received the Bangladesh National Award in Diabetes in 2011 and 2012.

As Vice President (2013-15, 2016-17) and President-Elect (2020-21) of IDF, Prof Hussain oversaw the successful expansion of IDF education activities, most notably the IDF School of Diabetes, which aims to facilitate access to diabetes education for healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes. He became President of the Federation at the IDF World Diabetes Congress in Lisbon in December 2022. During his tenure, he led the development and approval of a new strategic plan that will guide the activities of IDF until 2027. The plan is informed by a new vision of securing access to affordable, quality diabetes care and education worldwide and a new mission to improve the lives of people living with diabetes and prevent diabetes in those at risk.

A passionate champion for the diabetes cause, Prof Hussain’s contributions to the field of diabetes were invaluable and his absence will be deeply felt by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

In addition to his work with the International Diabetes Federation, Prof. Hussain contributed to global diabetes research, initiating prevention programmes in Bangladesh and Pakistan. A life member of Diabetes Associations in Bangladesh and Norway, he served on the Medical Advisory Board of the Norwegian Diabetes Federation for six years. He was also editor of multiple scientific journals and published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and several book chapters.

His passing marks a very sad day for the diabetes community and we would like to thank the many organisations and individuals who have sent messages of condolence and support.

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