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IDF Regional Meeting South–East Asia
Background Information
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) South–East Asia (SEA) region supported by Merck Sharp & Dohme, recently convened a workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal, during the inaugural meeting of the Diabetes In Asia Study Group (DASG) on 17th October 2008. The workshop was attended by representatives from six countries in the region (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, The Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka), comprising leading diabetes clinicians and healthcare practitioners, key patient and public groups along with IDF representatives including President–Elect, Professor Jean–Claude Mbanya.

The primary aim of the event was to agree on practical primary and secondary prevention strategies to help stem the growing prevalence of diabetes and ensure that diabetes patients in every country, including the SEA region, receive a consistently high standard of care covering both the treatment and management of their disease. Additionally, delegates assessed their roles in driving change with local policy makers to implement reforms to address the United Nations Resolution on Diabetes (UNR).

Delegates agreed that while there are variations between countries, there are common areas that need to be addressed such as increased awareness and education, ensuring balanced nutrition and improved sanitation. Furthermore, the high cost of diabetes–related complications was seen significant when compared to the cost of prevention. It was also clear to delegates that a multidisciplinary approach to diabetes care is required including access to the most appropriate treatments.

As a result of the workshop, an action orientated plan has been developed (for publication in early 2009), providing guidance and a framework for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes to successfully implement the UNR and generate significant progress in the management of diabetes. The landmark resolution recognizes diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease associated with major complications that pose severe risks for patients and their families across the world and the SEA region.

Recent data suggest that almost 40 million people have diabetes in SEA, with this figure set to double by 2025. If this happens, the region would contain the largest population of people with diabetes in the world.1 More broadly, the World Health Organization estimated that in 2004 almost 50% of the world's diabetics were in Asia Pacific.2

1 The International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas, Third Edition, 2006.
2 Health Statistics and Informatics Department, World Health Organization, GBD 2004 Summary Tables, October 2008