By Larry C. Deeb, M.D., Treasurer of the Rotarian Action Group for Diabetes
As most of you know, diabetes is a worldwide epidemic. But just how big? Diabetes affected 415 million people worldwide in 2015 and by the year 2040, that number will increase to 642 million. Developing countries are at a greater risk due to lack of resources. In developed countries, children with diabetes have full access to care, and can lead healthy and productive lives. But in the developing world, this care may be unaffordable or unavailable. Some children die quickly, while many others are chronically unwell, have trouble completing school and finding marriage partners, or develop early and devastating complications.
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate diabetes-related deaths will increase by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years if we don’t start taking action. The Rotarian Action Group for Diabetes (RAG Diabetes) charter president Wayne Edwards formed the group to provide an opportunity for the Rotary family to take action, and attack the problems caused by diabetes. Our purpose is to assist clubs and districts on projects that provide a strong commitment to education, identification, and treatment of diabetes, especially among children in developing countries, while raising awareness of this devastating disease throughout the Rotary world.
We also encourage Rotary members to work with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), a worldwide alliance of over 200 diabetes associations in more than 160 countries who come together to enhance the lives of people with diabetes everywhere. Learn more about diabetes in your country. With knowledge we can begin to take action.
This World Diabetes Day, we urge you to promote the importance of screening in your clubs or districts. Screenings can ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment, and reduce the risk of serious complications. Visit Rotary Showcase to see diabetes related projects and share your initiatives! For more information on RAG Diabetes, visit our website or email me if you have any questions.