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Launching WHO Global Diabetes Compact Amidst COVID-19 Plague

Thursday, 22nd April 2021
Prime Minister of Singapore Mr Lee Hsien Loong

One in three Singaporeans can expect to develop diabetes in their lifetimes, impairing their quality of life in later years. This was the message shared by Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, with delegates of an international conference on the World Health Organisation Global Diabetes Compact. Lee pointed out that although diabetes does not appear as a top cause of death,  many heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failures in fact trace back to diabetes. Diabetes also complicates the treatment of many other diseases, including COVID-19. According to the organisers of the Conference, people with diabetes have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death.

The Singaporean Prime Minister outlined his country efforts to fight the disease which is based on the principle of prevention being better than cure. Singapore has therefore mounted public awareness campaigns and programmes which  encourage Singaporeans to adopt healthy diets and lifestyles. The country has also made it mandatory to grade and label ready-to-drink beverages. It has banned advertising of beverages with high sugar and saturated fat content. With regard to lifestyle, the Singaporean State promotes regular physical activity, to maintain fitness and reduce obesity.

The WHO Global Diabetes Compact has the overall goal of supporting countries to implement programmes which effectively promote the prevention and management of diabetes. The Compact has six components which include global stakeholders collaboration; the integration into primary health care systems of diabetes prevention, diagnosis and treatment; and the international sharing of information on the costs of insulin and other essential diabetes medicines. The Compact was launched on 21st April, 2021 in a collaborative arrangement between the World Health Organisation and the University of Toronto of  Canada.


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