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The world I want — a world with less diabetes

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An open letter to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Your Excellency,

I am an Australian endocrinologist and academic with links to diabetes care in more than 45 countries. I am impressed by and congratulate all who contributed to the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). When committed people come together toward common goals, even ones as challenging as the eradication of poverty and illness on a global scale, much can be achieved.

In the post-2015 MDGs, I strongly recommend that global health, in particular diabetes, be given primacy, as “our health is our greatest wealth” and diabetes is already a global burden. The MDGs included a focus on communicable diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, and substantial achievements resulted. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, already threaten human health and global development. NCDs account for almost two-thirds of deaths globally, with 80% of these deaths, often in young and middle-aged people, being in low- and middle-income countries.1

Someone dies of diabetes every 6 seconds. In 2013, there were 382 million people with diabetes globally, most in low- to middle-income countries, and this figure is predicted to rise to over 592 million within 25 years.2 Most of this is preventable, but will require united global action.…