On this day last year, I watched New Delhi light monuments lit in blue as part of the whole of India’s commitment to honoring World Diabetes Day. I was visiting Project HOPE’s India Diabetes Educator Project where our master trainers had come together to learn, share and strengthen their knowledge and skills in diabetes education. It was an inspirational time, witnessing the country bring awareness to the health burden they face with diabetes. Since that trip, the global momentum behind non-communicable disease (NCDs), such as diabetes, has continued to grow as governments, health professionals and patients have worked to draw attention to this health crisis.
NCDs, the four focus diseases being cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes, have largely been seen as diseases of affluent, western countries. The truth is that they are impacting, and have been impacting, lesser developed countries at alarming rates. More alarming still is the projected increase in rates of disease in countries that are already struggling with infectious diseases, inadequate health care systems, and numerous other challenges.
In the past year, the global health community has come together in a show of strength often compared to that of the AIDS crisis, to draw the attention of world and government leaders to what is being called the NCD epidemic. NCDs are caused by a complex combination of factors and the solutions to prevention and treatment will also require integrative and innovative approaches.
It is an exciting time to be working at Project HOPE, an organization which has been implementing diabetes education, prevention and treatment projects for over a decade in such countries as China, India, Mexico and the U.S. While we continue our successful work providing medical professional training and strengthening the role of the diabetes educator, we have also embarked on innovative school-based interventions, workplace wellness programs, gestational diabetes and integration of diabetes services with pre-existing infectious disease health systems. In partnership with the private sector, local organizations and country government, Project HOPE is committed to improving diabetes education, awareness, and treatment in communities struggling to address this chronic disease around the world.
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