Access to Diabetes Care – If Not Now, When?

World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225. It is marked every year on 14 November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.

According to United Nations data, diabetes caused 4 million deaths in 2017. This chronic disease occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin it produces. They also claim that since 1980 the number of people with diabetes in the world has almost quadrupled. An estimated 425 million adults had diabetes in 2017, up from 108 million in 1980.

Diabetic retinopathy is a common eye disease, which causes blindness in working-age adults. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina (a light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye).

The theme of World Diabetes Day 2021 (14 November) is “Access to Diabetes Care”. People with this disease need continuous care and supervision, so that complications can be avoided.

The United Nations this World Diabetes Day and at the same time the centenary of the discovery of insulin, calls on people to raise awareness and bring about meaningful change for the more than 460 million people living with diabetes and the millions more who are at risk.

Preventive measures

It has been shown that there are simple measures related to habits that effectively prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. To help prevent this type of diabetes and its complications, these behaviors should be followed:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Perform at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days.

However, to control weight it may be necessary to increase the intensity; have a healthy diet, without sugar or saturated fats; and do not use tobacco, since smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


World Diabetes Day is a global event during which people with diabetes, health professionals, diabetes advocates, the media, the public and government organizations unite to raise awareness of diabetes. Your participation – both in the build-up to and following 14 November – is key to the success of the campaign. Taking part can be exciting and hugely rewarding!

How you can get involved

  • Pledge your support for greater access to diabetes care by supporting our online petition. Link available soon.
  • Engage a local or national policymaker to ensure that all people with diabetes have access to the care they need.
  • Organise a ‘Learn about diabetes’ event in schools.
  • Organize or take part in a local diabetes awareness walk.
  • Light up a local landmark, your home or workplace in blue.
  • Arrange an activity with your work colleagues.
  • Help people learn their potential risk of type 2 diabetes with our online test.
  • If your region or community is seeing physical distancing guidelines due to COVID-19, you can set up online activities.


World Diabetes Day

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