New York, 14 November 2011 - Secretary-General's message on World Diabetes Day
This year's World Diabetes Day comes at a time of unprecedented international action to confront this and other non-communicable diseases.
Just two months ago, the United Nations General Assembly held its first-ever High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, producing a strong Political Declaration with time-bound commitments. Among these was a pledge to make it possible for more people to get quality medicines for diagnosing and treating diabetes by the year 2013.
The Political Declaration also called on the private sector to do its part, building on Millennium Development Goal 8, which calls for partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.
We have seen meaningful progress in this direction. One company has introduced a differential pricing scheme to supply generic insulin to the least developed countries, benefitting three dozen States to date. But this facility cannot respond alone. We must bring in other partners. And we must address inefficient distribution systems, and the lack of sufficient public funding for medicines.
World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and to show people living with diabetes that the international community stands with them in their struggle. This is especially important for the 277 million people with diabetes who live in developing countries. Too often, the disease hits the poorest especially hard, leading to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, limb amputations, kidney failure and premature death.
I call on governments and pharmaceutical companies to give real meaning to our commemorations by developing joint strategies to make essential medicines more available and affordable in developing countries, especially for the poorest people who need them.
Let us all use World Diabetes Day to work so that people with diabetes everywhere get the care and treatment they deserve.