IDF: Education needed globally to meet the needs of 285m with diabetes

The latest International Diabetes Federation (IDF) data reveals that over 285 million people worldwide now live with diabetes and this number will explode to 435 million by 2030. This staggering figure does not capture the toll the disease takes on the individual. Unlike other diseases, people with diabetes are responsible for 95% of their own care and many are doing so without the proper skills and knowledge to do so. IDF, through its global education programme, is working to increase the number of diabetes educators worldwide, to train healthcare professionals in up-to-date diabetes management principles, to improve the quality of diabetes education and to make diabetes education an integral part of diabetes care.

Diabetes claims four million lives every year and is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and amputation. Diabetes imposes life-long demands on people and their families, who make a multitude of decisions daily related to managing diabetes. Access to diabetes education is a critical factor in meeting the challenges of diabetes. Governments must make investments to not only ensure specialised diabetes education is accessible to all healthcare professionals and people with diabetes, but also ensure that both groups are trained in how to apply knowledge to daily diabetes management.

International Diabetes Federation

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organisation of over 200 member associations in more than 160 countries. The mission of IDF is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. Its main activities include education for people with diabetes and healthcare professionals, public awareness campaigns and the promotion and exchange of information. IDF is a non-governmental organisation. It has official relations with WHO and is associated to the United Nations’ Department of Public Information. IDF organises the World Diabetes Congress every two years.  ● For more information visit:

“There are millions of people making complex daily medical decisions regarding their diabetes without proper education, or in many cases, with no education,” said Marg McGill, IDF Senior Vice President and Chair of the IDF Consultative Section on Diabetes Education (DECS). “To live a long and healthy life, the person with diabetes needs to be skilled in understanding and maintaining good nutrition, exercising, reducing risks of acute and longterm complications, coping emotionally with the burden of a chronic disease, monitoring their diabetes, problem solving and consistently adhering to their medication.

“Diabetes education is particularly lacking in developing countries which account for 70% of the global diabetes burden. Most people with diabetes do not access diabetes education for many reasons: cost, distance, lack of appropriate services, or they may be unaware of services that do exist or perhaps are not convinced of the benefits that diabetes education can bring. Poor management resulting from lack of knowledge will result in an increased likelihood of developing diabetes complications such as leg amputations, blindness, stroke, kidney and heart disease, thus increasing the economic burden to the person, their family and the community.

IDF Global Education Programme

IDF is committed to improving the quality of life of people with diabetes through assisting health professionals, professional organisations and member associations to provide high quality diabetes education and care. IDF’s educational framework encompasses action for change on multiple fronts, including a commitment to establishing a network of recognised IDF Centres of Education that can advance the development of diabetes education in every region. IDF has been extensively involved in promoting diabetes education by developing and promoting the international standards and curricula in various languages, providing education through regional associations, conducting Multidisciplinary Workshops for Healthcare Professionals, providing education materials, lobbying, and disseminating the evidence -

Diabetes education is best provided by a multidisciplinary team. The role of the diabetes educator is of critical importance within the diabetes care team. The educator enables people with diabetes to manage their diabetes-related health to the best of their ability so that their daily choices and actions are based upon informed judgement.

IDF has released two key publications at its 20th World Diabetes Congress in Montreal to provide evidence based resources to guide the development and continued improvement of education programmes for health care professionals and people with diabetes.

IDF International Standards for Diabetes Education, 3rd Edition

The new IDF International Standards for Diabetes Education are a comprehensive evidenced-based guide for developing diabetes selfmanagement education for people with diabetes. It is designed to provide a benchmark for diabetes educators, organisation-level decision makers and policy advisors to strive towards when developing self-management education programmes and integrating education into models of service delivery and national diabetes programmes. They are an excellent resource for anyone involved or wishing to become involved, in diabetes self-management education.

“Diabetes self-management education and ongoing selfmanagement support are critical components of effective diabetes care, and significant contributors to metabolic and psychological outcomes. These Standards provide a basis to ensure that the education and support received by individuals with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes are of the highest quality,” said Martha Funnell, Chair of the Standards Revision Committee and member of IDF DECS.

The IDF International Standards for Diabetes Education, 3rd Edition can be downloaded from this URL:

Free master class web videos for healthcare professionals

The IDF International Curriculum for Diabetes Health Professional Education was created to encourage evidenced based comprehensive education of healthcare professionals, and some standardisation of education programmes. It covers clinical management, education and behaviour change theory and techniques. It is available as a publication, slide modules and as free master class videos online:

“It is the philosophy of IDF that to provide high quality diabetes education, healthcare professionals must have a strong clinical understanding,” said Anne Belton, Editor of the Curriculum and member of IDF DECS.

Overview: Diabetes in the MENA region

Six countries in the Middle East and North African Region are among the world’s 10 highest for diabetes prevalence, and a similar situation applies for the IGT prevalence. These countries are Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The ageing of populations, together with socio-economic and lifestyle changes, has resulted in the dramatic increase in diabetes prevalence.

Over the past three decades, major social and economic changes have occurred in the majority of these nations. These include progressive urbanisation, decreasing infant mortality and increasing life expectancy. Rapid economic development, has been associated with tremendous modification in lifestyle including less physical activity, tendency to increased obesity and more smoking.

Diabetes and IGT prevalence

The explosion of diabetes in the MENA region is mainly due to type 2 diabetes. An estimated 26.6 million people, or 7.7% of the adult population, will have diabetes in 2010, this could nearly double in the next 20 years. Similarly, the number of people with IGT is also expected to rise markedly by 2030, raising the likelihood of further increases in the prevalence of diabetes.

Reliable data for type 1 diabetes in children were also available in a number of countries in this region. By far the largest contribution to the total number of children with type 1 diabetes comes from Egypt, whose estimates account for almost a quarter of the region’s total of 54,000 cases. The range of reported incidence varies from 22.3 per 100,000 aged 0-14 years per year in Kuwait to less than one per 100,000 aged 0-14 years in Pakistan (see Data Tables).


Diabetes is the expected cause of some 290,000 deaths in this region, which will account for 11.5% of all deaths in the 20-79 age group in 2010. More women than men are expected to die from diabetes-related causes. In the 50-59 age group, mortality attributable to diabetes in women accounts for more than 20% of all deaths.

Healthcare expenditure

In spite of the high estimates of diabetes prevalence in the MENA Region, the total healthcare expenditure for diabetes is expected to be only USD5.6 billion for the whole region. This is projected to account for only 1.5% of global spending. People with diabetes in the 50-59 age group are expected to incur the highest costs.

– International Diabetes Federation

ate of upload: 26th Jan 2010

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