Dear friends of the IDF community,
As I begin my term as President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), I would like to express my gratitude, on behalf of the IDF Board and Executive Office, for your efforts and commitment in 2017 and introduce the priority actions that will inform my Presidency over the next two years.
The year ended on a high with the IDF Congress 2017 in Abu Dhabi, which welcomed over 7500 delegates from 182 countries for an inspiring and intensive five days of activity to shape the future of diabetes. With over 160 hours of sessions, 330 top-level speakers, 1000 posters and a record 25 CME credits, the IDF 2017 programme provided delegates with an invaluable learning experience through varied and innovative sessions. I hope that everyone who attended left Abu Dhabi with renewed energy to tackle the many challenges that we, the diabetes community, face moving forward.
These challenges were placed firmly in the spotlight with the release of the new IDF Diabetes Atlas on World Diabetes Day, a milestone activity of IDF in 2017. The new numbers - 425 million adults with diabetes in 2017, an estimated 629 million by 2045 - reiterate the need for urgent action to tackle the economic and social burden that diabetes represents all over the world. The Atlas, however, is not limited to simply outlining the extent of the problem and contains recommendations for actions that can be taken to reduce the impact of diabetes locally, regionally and globally. These include the promotion of high-quality research on diabetes epidemiology through the strengthening of surveys and regular surveillance systems; the prioritization of diabetes care and control through appropriate training of healthcare personnel and improved access to essential medicines; the implementation of National Plans and Strategies and strengthening of governmental services; and the extension of health promotion to reduce diabetes and its complications.
As the global voice of people with diabetes, there is much that IDF can do to promote knowledge exchange and understanding of recent scientific advances to help drive policy change to ensure that new solutions relating to the detection and treatment of diabetes are available, accessible and affordable to all. In 2018 and 2019, IDF core initiatives and programmes will build on five focus areas - Humanitarian action; Diabetes care, access and prevention; Education; Epidemiology; and Advocacy and outreach.
Living with diabetes is a huge burden with many challenges even in normal circumstances, however it becomes more difficult during a period of natural disaster or war. IDF will seek to expand and strengthen its humanitarian action through the Diabetat Programme to reduce unnecessary hardship and suffering and tackle the challenges of living with diabetes during times of emergency by building a global structure to support people with diabetes and make their needs a priority.
As the prevalence of diabetes worldwide increases, it is more than ever critical to ensure that prevention of diabetes and its complications, together with proper access to care and medicines, are conducted in an effective and comprehensive manner. Building on its work in the field of diabetes retinopathy and nephropathy, IDF will broaden its programmes focused on complications.
In the area of education, 2018-19 will see the further expansion of the IDF School of Diabetes with new features and content including education targeted at people with diabetes, and caregivers, which IDF considers to be a critically important, fundamental and integral component of diabetes care. We will also work with our established network of global experts to strengthen capacity at the regional level through the IDF Centers of Education and IDF Centres of Excellence in Diabetes Care.
Our epidemiology work will focus on disseminating the findings of the IDF Diabetes Atlas 8th Edition and developing the 9th edition, which will have a specific focus on complications and co-morbidities as well as additional information on the cost burden of diabetes.
Our advocacy activities will focus on further developing and maximising the impact of our two networks, IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes and IDF Blue Circle Voices, representing the interests of people living with, or affected by, diabetes. We will also continue to advocate around four themes aligned with the 2025 WHO targets and 2030 SDG goals - Access to Essential Medicines, Gender-based discrimination, Quality of Care and Healthy Lifestyles - with a strong focus next year on the UN High Level Review on NCDs, currently scheduled in late 2018.
Effectively implementing this ambitious programme of work will not be possible without the continued dedication and commitment of our membership, partners and wider network of experts and volunteers, who represent our greatest strength and the source of inspiration for much that we do. I look forward to working alongside you all to improve the lives of people with diabetes and the health and well-being of future generations.
My best wishes for a healthy and productive 2018.
Dr Nam H. Cho
International Diabetes Federation
International Diabetes Federation