Diabetes Programme



Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin. In the past three decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself. For people living with diabetes, access to affordable treatment, including insulin, is critical to their survival. There is a globally agreed target to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025.

The Cambridge Seminar on the epidemiological and public health aspects of diabetes mellitus

23rd- 29th August 2015: The Cambridge Seminar on the epidemiological and public health aspects of diabetes mellitus will be held at Clare College, Cambridge, U.K.
Applications are now open and should be submitted by email or post to arrive by Sunday 22nd February, 2015 (full information on the Seminar website). For any queries please email query-CDS2015@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk.

World Diabetes Day 2014

The World Diabetes Day logo.

World Diabetes Day raises global awareness of diabetes - its escalating rates around the world and how to prevent the illness in most cases. The theme for 2014 is “Healthy Living and Diabetes”.

Started by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and WHO, the Day is celebrated on 14 November to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.


fact buffet

1.5 milliondeaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.

Fact sheet: diabetes

9%of adults in the world have diabetes.

Health topic: diabetes

90%of people with diabetes in the world have type 2 diabetes.

10 facts about diabetes

About the Diabetes Programme

The mission of the WHO Diabetes Programme is to prevent diabetes whenever possible and, where not possible, to minimize complications and maximize quality of life. Our core functions are to set norms and standards, promote surveillance, encourage prevention, raise awareness and strengthen prevention and control.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.