Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged world leaders to stop the global arms race and use the much-needed resources for health and education.
"On behalf of all diabetic patients and caregivers, I call upon world leaders to bring an immediate end to the Russia-Ukraine war. We must stop the international arms race and use the much-needed resources for our peoples' health and education," she said.
The PM said this in a video message aired in the World Diabetes Congress-2022 as a 'Global Ambassador for Diabetes' in Lisbon, Portugal.
"We need to have a world of peace to make sure that we can reach the right treatment and care to everyone diagnosed with diabetes and related co-morbidities," she said.
Hasina put emphasis on collective effort to make insulin and other life-saving drugs affordable for the poor. "It is our collective responsibility to ensure access to insulin and other life-saving drugs at an affordable price for the poor," she said.
She said the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed many fault-lines in our global health system. We must draw lessons from that experience to address the inequities that can be even more fatal for diabetes and other NCDs.
The PM said international political will must be mobilised to invest in diabetes prevention, treatment and research.
She called upon the International Diabetes Federation-IDF to join hands with World Health Organisation-WHO and other relevant global health actors to help implement the Global Diabetes Compact.
"There is no alternative to international financing for the prevention, treatment and research of diabetes," she added.
The prime minister said WHO says that around 422 million people in the world suffer from diabetes and the disease costs around 1.5 million lives every year.
In Bangladesh, she said that more than 8.5 million people, including children, live with diabetes and related co-morbidities.
She, however, said complications and premature death from diabetes can be prevented.
Mentioning that some lifestyle changes like regular exercise and a healthy diet can make a lot of difference, she said with the right medication and caution, a diabetes patient can enjoy a regular life.
She said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises non-communicable diseases-NCDs like diabetes to be a major challenge.
Bangladesh targets to reduce premature mortality from diabetes and other major NCDs by one-third by 2030, she added.
Hasina said her government has been implementing a pro-people health policy that gives importance to diabetes prevention and control through community awareness.
Her government offers free treatment to diabetic patients in the country's public sector hospitals, she said, adding that her government has recently started providing free insulin.
More than 18,000 community clinics and union health centres across the country are equipped with trained professionals and diabetes testing facilities, she said.
The PM said the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh works closely with the government for promoting nationwide diabetes care and awareness building.