The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is access to diabetes care.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. 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.
World Diabetes Day (WDD) is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign and an official United Nations (UN) awareness day. It was originally launched in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. It is marked every year on 14 November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.
The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN Resolution on Diabetes.
100 years after the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes around the world cannot access the care they need. People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications.
The centenary of the discovery of insulin presents a unique opportunity to bring
about meaningful change for the 463 million people living with diabetes and the millions more at risk.
Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation.
Healthy diet, physical activity and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. In addition diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with medication, regular screening and treatment for complications.
463 million adults (1-in-11) were living with diabetes in 2019.
The number of people living with diabetes is expected rise to 578 million by 2030.
More than 3 in 4 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries.
1 in 6 live births (20 million) are affected by high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia) in
Two-thirds of people with diabetes live in urban areas and three-quarters are of
1 in 5 people with diabetes (136 million) are above 65 years old.
Diabetes caused 4.2 million deaths in 2019.
Diabetes was responsible for at least $760 billion in health expenditure in 2019 – 10% of the global total spent on healthcare.
Depending on the global region, up to 50% people diagnosed with COVID-19 were living with diabetes.
1 in 2 adults with diabetes remain undiagnosed (232 million). The majority have type 2 diabetes.
Tens of thousands of people with type 1 diabetes who need insulin to survive and more than 30 million with type 2 diabetes who require insulin do not have access to a reliable and affordable supply.
In Africa, 86% of people with type 2 diabetes are unable to access the insulin they need.
63% of households in low-income countries are unable to afford insulin, along with 2.8% of households in high income countries.
26.9% of households in low-income countries, and 0.7% of households in high-income countries, cannot afford the medication Metformin.
Link to the World Diabetes Day 2021 web site:
Link to World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet on diabetes:
Link to the related United Nations (UN) page:
Link to related UN video: