The FINANCIAL — On the occasion of the World Diabetes Congress in Dubai, the International Diabetes Federation has started the “Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme”.
Bayer HealthCare supports the initiative that aims to unite young people with diabetes from around the world to create a global network based on shared values and common interests.The programme has been started to encourage young people in their twenties to discuss living with the disease and to become actively involved in their associations. The initial meeting takes place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from December 1 to 9, 2011, and will be regularly repeated at future IDF congresses.
Diabetes continues to grow at an alarming rate. About 366 million people worldwide suffer from the chronic disease – and the number is set to increase. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood, which can seriously damage the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. The most worrying rise of diabetes lies with the under 25-year-olds. “The IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme aims at improving the lives of young people with diabetes, among other things through the development of tomorrow’s leaders in the diabetes community”, explains Debbie Jones, IDF Vice President and Chair of the IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme.
IDF has set up the programme to become the key driver in enhancing the lives of young people with or at risk of diabetes. It is meant to be an integral part of IDF’s work with its member associations and thereby enhancing the lives of people with diabetes more fully and powerfully.
Young people of member associations from around the globe are invited to present their ideas, possibly by the help of a mentor from their member asscociation. Two leaders will be elected from each of the seven IDF regions – Africa, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, North America and Carribean, South and Central America, South East Asia, and Western Pacific. These two representatives from each region will make up the council of 14 which will then be the organizing committee for young leaders’ programmes at future congresses. They will also meet at regional meetings outside the biennial congress and be their steering group for the future direction of the IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme. To raise international awareness for the programme, IDF has created a webpage including an interactive online forum and a Facebook account.
The initital event in Dubai has laid the foundation for further action. At regional meetings, the young leaders had the opportunity to identify the regional challenges of diabetes and discuss potential solutions that they can impact. The meetings provided time for debate and discussion. Sir Michael Hirst, President-Elect of IDF, held a lecture about “The future of young people’s involvement within IDF” while Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, President of IDF, gave insights on the “Impact of Diabetes on Young People in Developing Countries”. The latter topic refers to a tragic background: more than 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.