The NCD Alliance Malawi has called for renewed dedication to fighting diabetes as latest statistics indicate an estimated 486, 011 people living with diabetes, 58% of whom are undiagnosed, face myriad challenges to access appropriate medical care to the disease.
Chairperson of the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance Malawi (NCDA), Maud Mwakasungula, made the appeal in a statement issued commemorate this year’s World Diabetes Day.
This year, the day will be celebrated with “A Call for Action and Solidarity in the Fight Against Diabetes in Malawi”.
Mwakasungula disclosed that people living with NCDs and the diabetes community in Malawi and worldwide counts on our collective leadership and action and that only through concerted efforts could Malawi hope to make a significant impact in the battle against diabetes.
“NCD Alliance Malawi recognizes the important strides made in fighting diabetes. Diabetes is a public health challenge and is an escalating concern. With over half a billion people globally grappling with diabetes, and with an estimated 486,011 in Malawi alone, hence need for concerted efforts in dealing with diabetes,” she said.
Mwakasungula further stated that NCD Alliance Malawi recognizes the importance of reflecting on the strides and challenges made in the fight against diabetes, particularly in Malawi.
She said with more than half a billion people affected globally, the urgency for action is clear.
“In Malawi, the situation is critical, with an estimated 486,011 people living with diabetes, 58% of whom are undiagnosed. In 2021 alone, diabetes led to 7,917 deaths and cost our healthcare system approximately 73,226,758 USD. The Government of Malawi has been very proactive in addressing this public health challenge, striving to ensure that diabetes care is equitable, comprehensive, affordable, and of high quality. The collaboration between the government and the civil society actors such as the NCD Alliance Malawi has laid a strong foundation for tackling diabetes. However, there is still much work to be done,” reads the statement.
Mwakasungula also emphasized the need to educate the public about health and nutrition, which she said plays a very vital in diabetes management and prevention.
She said educating the public about healthy lifestyles and early detection of diabetes is crucial in curbing its rise and mitigating its impact on the people and our healthcare system.
Additionally, Mwakasungula said resource allocation is another critical area that needs urgent attention, stressing that more resources must be invested and dedicated to improving access to diabetes diagnosis and care, including investments in healthcare infrastructure, training of medical personnel, and public health initiatives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set ambitious but achievable global diabetes coverage targets to be met by 2030. These include ensuring that 80% of people living with diabetes are diagnosed, 80% of those diagnosed have good control of glycaemia, 80% have good control of blood pressure, 60% of individuals aged 40 or older with diabetes receive statins, and 100% of people with type 1 diabetes have access to affordable insulin and blood glucose self-monitoring.
Mwakasungula said achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, as called for by the WHO, is vital for meeting these targets. She said this requires commitment and collaboration from both local and global leaders.
“There is an undeniable need for more resources to be dedicated to improving access to diabetes diagnosis and care. This includes investments in healthcare infrastructure, training of medical personnel, and public health campaigns. As we mark World Diabetes Day, the NCD Alliance Malawi calls for renewed dedication to fighting diabetes. People Living with NCDs and the diabetes community in Malawi and worldwide counts on our collective leadership and action. Only through concerted efforts could we hope to make a significant impact in the battle against diabetes,” concludes the statement.
The Malawi Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (MWNCDA) is a national Civil Society network with a common goal to reduce the burden of preventable morbidity and disability as well as avoidable deaths due to non-communicable diseases and injuries, including the broad scope of many non- communicable disease impacting the health of Malawians.