November 4, 2021
November 14 is designated as World Diabetes Day (WDD). WDD was established jointly in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to help raise awareness about health complications that can result from diabetes. This day is marked annually on November 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922. WDD is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign, with an audience of over 1 billion people in 160 countries (IDF, 2021).
You might have seen a blue circle associated with this day; and wondered “what does it mean?” Well, the blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness signifying the unity of the global diabetes community in its joint response towards addressing and raising awareness.
In 2019, the IDF has noted that about 463 million adults were living with diabetes, and it is projected that this number will rise to 578 million by 2030. In addition, 1 in 2 adults with diabetes remain undiagnosed. In Canada, The Canadian Diabetes Association sites that 1 in 3 Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes, yet knowledge of risk and complications of disease remain low.
Each year, WDD focuses on a specific theme which may run for one of more years (IDF, 2021). This years WDD 2021-23 theme is “Access to Diabetes care- if not now, when?”. This highlights the importance of having access to the diabetes care people need to manage their health, whether it be accessing timely testing, medications, Diabetes education centers or being referred to important tests as needed. Yet it remains that until this day, millions or people around the world do not have access to the diabetes care they need, or the ongoing care and support needed to manage their condition and avoid short- and long-term complications.
We are also living in extraordinarily difficult times with the COVID19 pandemic which has further shed a light on this gap. We have seen how people living with diabetes are having higher fatality rates, and higher rates of complications; especially if their diabetes is uncontrolled. It is therefore, of utmost important that the global diabetes community come together to raise awareness and make sure that diabetes and people living with diabetes are receiving appropriate attention and care. If there was ever a better time to focus the attention on diabetes and its consequences, the time is now.
Those living with diabetes need timely and affordable care, regardless of where they live and regardless of their economic circumstances. This year’s theme aims to raise awareness of these gaps, and how the global community can start the conversation and move towards solutions to benefit those in need.
Insulin at 100!
In addition, this year is especially important as it marks 100 years since the development of insulin in 1921. One hundred years after this landmark medical breakthrough, millions of lives have been saved and lives improved. The many experiments that made it possible for the world to obtain commercially available insulin began in Toronto, Canada! A breakthrough was had when one of the dogs enrolled in the experiments named Marjorie survived for 70 days with injections from the pancreatic extract or “isletin” as it was then called. On January of the following year, the first successful injection of insulin was given to a person living with diabetes! this would be a breakthrough lifesaving medication; insulin, that we see today under various names and used by millions
o To learn more about World Diabetes Day or to learn more about the discovery of insulin, please visit: https://worlddiabetesday.org/about/insulin-at-100/
o To learn more about diabetes and diabetes in Canada, please visit:
1- World Diabetes Day: https://worlddiabetesday.org/about/insulin-at-100/
2- Canadian Diabetes Association: https://diabetes.ca