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‘Govt committed to controlling non-communicable diseases’

* Diabetes feared to double across Pakistan by 2035
‘Govt committed to controlling non-communicable diseases’
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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is committed to prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and it has geared to work closely with stakeholders in developing short-term and long-term plans that focus both on prevention through life style changes and affordable quality treatment to those afflicted by this disease.
Minister of State for National Health services, Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar expressed these views while addressing at inaugural session of Pakistan Diabetes Leadership Forum. Jesper Moller Sorensen Ambassador of Denmark and Sir Michael Hirst, President of the International Diabetes Federation were present there. Diabetes is a growing challenge for Pakistan and for the entire world. We have heard from the President of the International Diabetes Federation how 6.7 million of our fellow citizens already have the disease and that this is set to rise to 12.8 million by the year 2035. These are very disturbing figures and should jolt us into action, the minister added.  
She said as countries urbanize, people lead increasingly unhealthy lifestyles and diabetes grows in prevalence. It is essential that the government help those already with the disease get diagnosed and access the right care. It is duty of the government to future generations to educate our children about living healthy and prevent millions more from developing diabetes.
The minister further said by working together over these coming days, you are each proclaiming as leaders that you are ready to meet this challenge and that you are ready to embrace a spirit of collaboration. It is important we join forces. Diabetes affects many millions of families and is further increasing poverty and ill health. Fighting the spread of diabetes will require policy-makers, healthcare professionals, academics, non-governmental organisations and industry to combine efforts, energies and resources.
There must be a pooling of resources and wisdom to make headway in this initiative.
The government of Pakistan needs the support of organizations like Diabetic Association of Pakistan, the Baqai Institute of Dialectology & Endocrinology, the Pakistan Endocrine Society, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, and the Sakina Institute of Diabetes and Endocrine Research who helped us to organize this event. I know many other organizations from around the country are also represented and I thank you all for standing by us in this mission.
She underscored the government needs the support of the private sector, civil society, professional organisations and the media. Minister said international organisations who have experience and expertise in supporting diabetes prevention and control programs across the world in developing strategies to reduce the burden of diabetes. I am pleased to note that the International Diabetes Federation and the World Diabetes Foundation have dedicated significant resources to increasing awareness of diabetes and helping develop local and national projects to improve treatment.
The minister said, “I recognise, on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, that diabetes is a public health priority in our response to non-communicable diseases. The ministry very much appreciates Novo Nordisk helping organize such platforms that focus attention on diabetes as a priority and allow us to come together to find sustainable solutions.”
Saira Afzal Tarar said health-care delivery is the responsibility of the provinces and we look forward to work closely with the provincial governments providing policy guidelines and strategic framework alongside negotiating and seeking support from international partners. “I am confident that this forum will come up with concrete recommendations which will guide policy. I assure you that we will make every effort to ensure that the recommendations of this forum are fully implemented. I hope that over the coming two days we can develop the Islamabad Call to Commitment and Action, a Call that will resonate throughout the nation and which will drive improved prevention, diagnosis and care of diabetes for all Pakistanis,” she added.

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