ISLAMABAD: A national action plan for diabetes prevention and control will be developed with focus on awareness about the disease. The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) signed a letter of understanding (LoU) with a Danish pharmaceutical company in this regard on Wednesday.
The long-term mutual strategic cooperation aims to improve current and future diagnosis, treatment and care of people with diabetes in Pakistan and ultimately preventing the debilitating complications of this disease.
Minister of State for NHSRC Saira Afzal Tarar said diabetes was a major non-communicable disease across the world and specifically in Pakistan. Over seven million Pakistanis have diabetes, which makes it eighth largest diabetic population in the world, she said.
“There is an urgent need to create awareness among the population to prevent the disease,” she said. A dedicated non-communicable disease cell is working in the health ministry focusing on diabetes, the minister added.
She said that in order to deliver on objective of the cooperation, two areas of focus will be improvement of access of patients to treatment and education of healthcare professionals and patients. She said a taskforce on diabetes will be formed which will consist of members from both ministry and the Danish company, along with key stakeholders from across the country.
“Through this strategic cooperation, we will increase awareness regarding this silent killer,” Rana Azfar Zafar, General Manager of Novo Nordisk Pakistan, said. Unless society is educated about how to prevent and manage diabetes including having access to treatment, 10 people will continue to die from diabetes every hour in Pakistan, he said.
Danish Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Helle Nielsen said that the collaboration between the Danish firm and the Government of Pakistan is an excellent example of a public-private partnership. “The common goal is to strengthen diabetes health care system in Pakistan through awareness and quality care,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2016.