Diabetes is quite prevalent in Pakistan but no one could have predicted the number of people actually affected by it.
According to the National Diabetes Survey (NDS) 2016-17, 26% of Pakistanis are suffering from type 2 diabetes, which makes one in every four people. The last such survey was conducted 20 years ago.
Professor Abdul Basit, a prominent figure in the survey, expressed his shock at the results saying, “There are already 19.05% known cases of Diabetes Mellitus in Pakistan and combined with the new cases, the prevalence of diabetes is 26.19%, which is quite shocking and alarming for the entire nation.”
The latest results are part of a survey carried out by the Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE) in collaboration with the Pakistan Health Ministry, Pakistan Health Research Council, and the Diabetic Association of Pakistan.
Prior to the survey, experts had predicted that roughly 8% of the population was suffering from diabetes and that the number could go up to 30% by 2040. But the survey results have left everyone in a state of shock as not even the experts saw this coming. If the disease has already affected 26% people right now, this number is bound to go way up in the coming years.
The survey was conducted in rural and urban areas of all four provinces, including the Islamabad Capital Territory. Diabetes tests in alignment with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, were carried out on 11,000 people by a team of 17 expert researchers. 14.7% people tested positive for Diabetes while the survey shows that another 14% are at a risk of developing this disease. 7% people who were tested for the disease did not know they had it while 19% already knew they suffered from Diabetes.
The survey also revealed that 35 million to 37.5 million people above the age of 20 are suffering from Diabetes in Pakistan. Moreover, the survey can also help find out whether a child’s weight at the time of birth, mother’s diet, formula milk, livelihood tension, social issues or any other reasons are behind the prevalence of this disease.
A detailed analysis of the results from the survey will be released to the public in the coming six months but till then Professor Basit says that swift action should be taken to curb this disease. Early prevention programs should be introduced in schools, moreover, government, policy makers, health sector, leading pharmaceutical companies should join hands to form and implement actionable plans to prevent Diabetes from spreading further in Pakistan.
Source – The News
Image – Roche