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Current Issues International Health and Diabetes
International Diabetes Federation—The Global Voice for Diabetes
Ann Keeling
Chief Executive Officer, International Diabetes Federation (IDF)
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization globally. The Bringing Research in Diabetes to Global Environments
of over 200 diabetes member associations in over 160 countries. It and Systems (BRIDGES) program funds translational research projects in
represents the 285 million people living with diabetes and the growing diabetes prevention and treatment to provide the opportunity to
numbers at risk. IDF has been leading the global diabetes community ‘translate’ lessons learned from clinical research to those who can
since 1950. Its mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention, and a benefit most: people affected by diabetes. Both short- and long-term
cure worldwide. The Federation is engaged in tackling diabetes from projects are under way in Australia, Cameroon, Egypt, Guinea, India,
programs at community level to worldwide awareness and advocacy Jordan, Sri Lanka, the UK, the US, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The first
initiatives. Its activities aim to improve care for people with diabetes and project results will be available at the beginning of 2010.
influence policy, provide education for people with diabetes and their
healthcare providers, increase public awareness, and encourage health Guidelines and standards of care for diabetes are of particular
improvement, as well as the promotion and exchange of high-quality importance to the Federation. Through its extensive networks of
information about diabetes. IDF is an associated non-governmental experts, IDF is able to research and publish models of care and
organization (NGO) with the UN Department of Public Information and guidelines for diabetes education and management to assist physicians,
is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) and nurses, diabetes educators, and other healthcare professionals. These
the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). The Federation also tools also provide a blueprint for government health systems to
works closely with other diabetes organizations, governments, health implement or improve diabetes care. In addition, the Federation has
professionals, civil society, education and research institutions, conducted individual country assessments on access to insulin data and
pharmaceutical and other industries, and other non-communicable diabetes care—in Vietnam in 2008 and in Kyrgyzstan in 2009. The results
disease organizations. The Federation is committed to working with of these Rapid Assessment Protocol for Insulin Access (RAPIA) studies
governments worldwide and to encouraging implementation of the UN were released at the World Diabetes Congress and will be presented to
Resolution on diabetes (61/225). IDF led the successful Unite for Diabetes the national governments.
campaign, which resulted in the unanimous adoption of the Resolution
by the UN General Assembly in 2006. It now leads the charge to get the World Diabetes Congress
Resolution implemented globally. The Federation welcomed over 12,000 delegates to its 20th World
Diabetes Congress this year in Montréal, Canada on October 18–22,
Comprehensive Diabetes Data 2009. The Congress is held every two years and is one of the world’s
The Federation is committed to providing the world with the latest and largest health-related congresses. The congress provides the opportunity
most authoritative global prevalence data on diabetes, comprehensive to discuss a broad range of diabetes topics, from the latest scientific
diabetes care guidelines, and the latest innovations in diabetes advances to cutting-edge information on education, diabetes care,
education. It also aims to serve as a repository for diabetes data for advocacy, and awareness. IDF provided updates and new editions of the
researchers, governments, industries, healthcare professionals, and Diabetes Atlas and clinical guidelines on self-monitoring blood glucose,
people with diabetes. pregnancy and oral health, and education curricula. Webcasts of
congress sessions and the final congress program are available at
Since 2000, the Federation has produced the Diabetes Atlas, a unique www.worlddiabetescongress.org/pages/programme. The 21st World
resource that tracks the prevalence, costs, and economic impact of Diabetes Congress will be held in Dubai, UAE in December 2011. The
diabetes globally. The Atlas is published every three years. The current World Diabetes Congress features state-of-the-art topics arranged into
edition of the Atlas is available for free online at www.eatlas.idf.org. The six program streams: association development, clinical research,
fourth edition of the Atlas was released at the 20th World Diabetes education, foundation science, healthcare and epidemiology, and living
Congress in Montreal in October 2009. IDF will include annual updates with diabetes. Each stream includes lectures that will be held in a variety
online to better serve the needs of the global diabetes community. The of formats to allow for constructive interaction and to share best
Federation hopes to implement major studies with various partners to practice: meet-the-expert sessions, debates, teaching, workshops
fill the gaps in the diabetes evidence base. In addition, expert and including hands-on training sessions, problem-solving, or practical
systematic reviews will be commissioned and conducted. Since 2007 demonstrations, and poster sessions. Above all, the congress brings the
the Federation has also supported translational research projects global diabetes community together to review progress on implementing
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