Novo Nordisk praises historic declaration to fight diabetes

On December 13, 2010, twenty-two countries from the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) and five international organisations agreed on the "Dubai Declaration on Diabetes and Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases in the Middle East and Northern Africa Region." The agreement was the culmination of the Novo Nordisk sponsored MENA Diabetes Leadership Forum held on December 12-13 in Dubai.

"We are confident that the Dubai Declaration will help the MENA region address the diabetes challenge, improving prevention, early detection and quality of care," says Lars Rebien Sørensen, president and CEO of Novo Nordisk. "All stakeholders, private and public, must bring their competences to the table and coordinate their efforts."

Keynote speaker, President Bill Clinton, founder of The William J Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States of America, commended this approach. "I think it's a great mistake not to form public-private partnerships, as long as everybody's open and above-board. I think what you're [Novo Nordisk] doing, sponsoring this project, is an example of what we should be doing everywhere."

Diabetes is sweeping the MENA region affecting an estimated 26.6 million, creating great demands on the region's healthcare systems and huge financial burdens on its governments. The number of people with diabetes is expected to double to 51.7 million people by 2030.
"Addressing this pandemic is urgent and important. Non-communicable diseases like diabetes will be a burden on the economies in the region," says UAE Health Minister His Excellency Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, urging all of the signatories to adopt and implement the declaration.

Important issues from the Dubai Declaration

The Dubai Declaration is focused on three key issues:

  • All MENA countries must be represented and take an active role in the Moscow June 2011 United Nations International Conference on Non-Communicable Diseases and the New York September 2011 UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases. Taking an active role will help to ensure regional concerns are expressed in an international platform.
  • Commit to providing comprehensive care to people with diabetes including encouraging them to lead a normal life.
  • Introduce preventive measures such as healthier living which slows the progression of diabetes and its related non-communicable diseases.

Diabetes awareness survey reveals alarming figures

The Dubai Declaration comes on the heels of a 2010 Novo Nordisk and Ipsos Emirates Health regional survey on the prevalence and seriousness of diabetes. The survey showed that 41% of respondents are at risk of developing diabetes. Despite a high awareness of the scale of diabetes, only half of respondents consider it to be a severe or a very severe disease. The survey also showed that many myths about diabetes remain very common.

Read more about the survey here.

About the MENA Leadership Forum

As part of its Changing Diabetes® Leadership Forum initiative, Novo Nordisk organised and sponsored the December 12 - 13 MENA Diabetes Leadership Forum in Dubai, UAE. The Forum was held under the high patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance of the UAE. The UAE Ministry of Health together with the executive board of the Health Ministers' Council for Gulf Cooperation Council States (GCC), the World Diabetes Foundation and the World Bank Group (MENA region) hosted the Forum. The Forum was supported by the Dubai Health Authority, the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, the World Health Organization, the International Diabetes Federation, the Emirates Diabetes Society, the Gulf Group for the Study of Diabetes, the MENA Health Policy Forum, the Steno Diabetes Center, the Joslin Diabetes Center, the Imperial College London and the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences.

The Forum brought together a group of over 600 regional and international experts and decision-makers from 22 countries and territories in the MENA region. Attending countries were Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian National Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.

The Forum also featured keynote address His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.