Back to previous page


Post Most

Ann Keeling discusses global health, noncommunicable diseases

Ann Keeling

Chief Executive, International Diabetes Federation; chair, NCD Alliance Steering Group

Today, there are 366 million people with diabetes and another 280 million at high risk of developing diabetes who would almost certainly go on to develop diabetes. The numbers in the trend are similar across the other four major NCDs.

I’m sorry, America. Diabetes is still rising here.But what we are seeing is three out of four people with NCDs are now living in low- and middle-income countries. And the fastest increases are in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Our member associations on the ground see people with preventable cancers turned away from hospitals to die. Our association sees children with Type 1 diabetes in Africa who will die if they have no access to insulin. Yes, we need to find cures for diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart disease, but until we find those cures, we already know what to do. But over 100 million people are living today with NCDs, and they lack the medicines that they need to stay alive.

Governments have a duty to lead, regulate and invest in the measures needed to prevent NCDs. It’s going to revolve around the way in which we build our cities, our transport systems, regulation of alcohol and tobacco.

Let’s ban tobacco. Governments have a duty to regulate on food content — sugar, salt, trans fats — [and] to regulate the marketing of food and alcohol to children.

© The Washington Post Company