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World Diabetes Day

Tara Dairman

November 14, 2008

Today, November 14, is World Diabetes Day. Events have been planned on every continent to raise awareness of the global diabetes epidemic and the need to increase prevention efforts, improve treatment, and find a cure. The theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day is "Diabetes in Children and Adolescents."

The observation of World Diabetes Day was started by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) over 15 years ago. Today, it is one of the only “health days” officially recognized by the United Nations. It takes place every year on November 14 (the birthday of Frederick Banting, one of the co-discoverers of insulin).

The Web site www.worlddiabetesday.org has materials in English, French, and Spanish that discuss warning signs for diabetes in children and treatment protocols. They also discuss the psychological, social, and other impacts that diabetes can have on children and families. On the Web site, you can also find out more about the IDF Life for a Child Program, which helps children with diabetes in developing countries gain access to the medicine and care they need.

In fact, a few days ago, insulin manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company announced that it will donate over 800,000 vials of insulin to the Life for a Child program, which will provide free medicine for up to 24,000 children who currently do not have access to diabetes treatment. Donations will initially be focused in sub-Saharan Africa, rolling out in at least nine African countries over the next four years. You can learn more about the Life for a Child program at www.lifeforachild.org.

At www.worlddiabetesday.org/monuments, you can find a list of over 900 monuments around the world that will be lit up in blue for World Diabetes Day. The list includes the Pyramids in Egypt, Niagara Falls in Canada, the Tower of London in the UK, and many others.

Are you attending an event or doing something special to commemorate World Diabetes Day? Let us know with a comment below.



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