Diabetic person testing their blood

New framework for tackling diabetes

  • Research
  • Society

Population-based studies show that, today, the delivery of evidence-based care for people with diabetes is suboptimal even in well-resourced health systems. The condition remains one of the world's most challenging public health issues due to its high and growing prevalence, and the impact it has on individuals, health systems and national economies.

Published in The Lancet, a new report for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Disease Compact, has identified five core national targets for UN member states aimed at reducing diabetes risk and ensuring equitable access to comprehensive and affordable care and prevention for people living with diabetes.

The lead author on the report was Professor Edward Gregg, Head of RCSI’s School of Population Health.

A helpful framework

The report is intended to serve as a helpful framework for countries to take action and reduce the burden of diabetes. The recommended targets are:

  • Of all people with diabetes, at least 80% have been clinically diagnosed.
  • For people with diagnosed diabetes, 80% have glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) concentrations below 8·0% (63·9 mmol/mol), an important biomarker for diabetes.
  • 80% of those with diabetes have blood pressure lower than 140/90mm Hg.
  • At least 60% of those with diabetes who are 40 years or older are receiving therapy with statins.
  • Each person with type 1 diabetes has continuous access to insulin, blood glucose meters, and test strips.

If achieved, these targets can reduce the number of people living with diabetes and greatly improve the outcomes and quality of life of people who are diagnosed with the condition.

Many diabetes interventions are cost-effective and feasible to implement. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, for example, through intensive lifestyle interventions and medication for individuals at high risk, and population-wide changes to dietary quality, physical activity levels and prevalence of obesity.

For people with diagnosed diabetes, delivery of essential medications and management of glycaemia and cardiometabolic risk factors, alongside early screening for complications via well organised care can reduce acute and chronic complications and extend life.

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.