MSF Statement on EB148/6 – Non communicable diseases
Diabetes prevalence is increasing worldwide. It is estimated that there will be a 48% global increase in diabetes prevalence by 2045, from 425 million people in 2017 up to 629 million people. In 2019, diabetes became one of the top ten causes of death globally, including in low- and middle-income countries. Still, the majority of people living with diabetes are not aware of their diagnosis due to a lack of basic diagnostic equipment and investment in screening. This year is the centenary of the discovery of insulin – the scientists who discovered it 100 years ago sold the original patent for a dollar with the intention of ensuring universal access. Yet for people with diabetes requiring insulin, fewer than half have access to this life-saving medication.
To address the vast unmet need in diagnosis and care for people living with diabetes, and to complement the World Health Organization (WHO)’s diabetes compact launching in April 2021, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) supports the call for a World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on diabetes, including specific actions to ensure access to insulin.
Member States and WHO should commit to simplifying regulatory pathways for biosimilar insulins and addressing price barriers for insulin and the bundle of medical supplies required to inject insulin and monitor blood glucose (pens or needles, syringes and glucose monitors). Significant investment is needed to improve supply chains and health system capacity to deliver diabetes care. MSF strongly supports WHO’s proposal to set global targets for diabetes care based on the 90-90-90 targets used for HIV programming.
The tools to manage diabetes exist. WHO Member States need to support a resolution to make these tools widely accessible and should prioritise improving access for people who require insulin, particularly those living with type 1 diabetes who cannot survive without it.