IN 1991, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) instituted World Diabetes Day (WDD), in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.
The WDD became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of a United Nations resolution.
The day is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign that reaches a global audience of over one billion people in more than 160 countries and draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight.
The day is marked every year on November 14, which is the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin, along with Charles Best, in 1922.
The campaign seeks to be the platform to promote IDF advocacy efforts throughout the year and to be the global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue.
The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN resolution on diabetes.
The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness, which signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.
The campaign for the celebration each year focuses on a dedicated theme that runs for one or more years.
The theme for the 2020 WDD is: ‘The nurse and diabetes’, and the objective is to raise awareness of the crucial role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.
The Mirror agrees that as the number of people with diabetes continues to rise across the world, the role of nurses and other professional health support staff is becoming increasingly important in managing the impact of the condition.
We of the paper are aware that nurses are often the first, and sometimes only, health professionals that a person interacts with, and so the quality of their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital.
We couldn’t have agreed more with the need for more education and funding to equip nurses around the world with the skills to support people living with diabetes and those at risk of developing type two diabetes.
The Mirror is concerned that the global shortage of nurses in 2018 was 5.9 million, with 89 per cent of that shortage concentrated in low- and middle-income countries.
We support the fact that the number of nurses trained and employed needs to grow by eight per cent a year to overcome alarming shortfalls in the profession by 2030.
We have learnt that older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma, appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the COVID-19 virus.
The paper is concerned that when people with diabetes develop a viral infection, it could be harder to treat due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels and, possibly, the presence of diabetes complications.
We are, therefore, happy to learn that the IDF has joined the global effort, together with the world’s leading diabetes organisations, to reduce the risk for people with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The IDF wants to facilitate opportunities for nurses to learn more about the condition and receive training, so that they can make a difference for people with diabetes.
People living with diabetes face a number of challenges, and education is vital to equip nurses with the skills to support them.
The Mirror, therefore, adds its voice to calls on healthcare providers and governments to recognise the importance of investing in education and the training of nurses.
We are confident that with the right expertise, nurses can make the difference for people affected by diabetes.
The Mirror also agrees with calls by experts on the public to adhere to healthy lifestyles and exercise to help address the situation of diabetes, especially during this period of the COVID-19.