Symposia & Initiatives

Diabetes and Pregnancy: A Public Health Issue

PROGRAM


Diabetes and Pregnancy: A Public Health Issue

Palais des Nations, Geneva
On the occasion of the Economic and Social Council High-level Segment


Organized and facilitated by
The Global Alliance for Women's Health (GAWH)

in co-sponsorship with
The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva
The Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations in Geneva
The Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations in New York

in partnership with
Novo Nordisk

6 July 2009

WELCOMING REMARKS
The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva
The Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations in Geneva
The Permanent Mission of Tanzania to the United Nations in New York

MODERATORS

Ms. Joyce Kafanabo
Chair, Council on Gender-based Health at the UN;
Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations in New York

Elaine M. Wolfson, Ph.D.
President and Founder, Global Alliance for Women's Health (GAWH)

PANELISTS

Manuel Carballo, M.D.
Executive Director, International Centre for Migration, Health and Development, Geneva, Switzerland

Mapoko Mbelenge Ilondo, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Global Diabetes Partnerships, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark;
Associate Professor, University of Kinshasa

Anil Kapur, M.D.
Managing Director, World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), Copenhagen, Denmark

Elaine M. Wolfson, Ph.D.

Q & A


BACKGROUND

This panel was the culmination of several advocacy initiatives leading up to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Annual Ministerial Review, the theme of which was "Implementing internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health."

Since 2003, GAWH has undertaken a campaign to catalyze the development of international policy on diabetes and women's health. Until very recently, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and gender-based health have been subordinate to the attention paid to infectious diseases. Addressing the implications of diabetes and diabetes in pregnancy was almost entirely ignored, leaving this global health crisis to continue without interventions or policies addressing this deadly disease. This lack of attention has not only fostered the spread of the epidemic, but could prevent the 2015 achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically MDGs 3, 4, and 5: promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health, respectively.

In order to draw attention to this issue at the international level, the Global Alliance for Women's Health (GAWH), with the co-sponsorship of the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh and Chile to the UN in Geneva and the Permanent Mission of Tanzania to the UN in New York, and the partnership of Novo Nordisk, organized and facilitated a panel discussion on diabetes and pregnancy as an urgent public health issue. This panel was held in Conference Room XVIII at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday 6 July 2009. The panel was moderated by Ms. Joyce Kafanabo, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Tanzania to the UN in New York and Chair of the Council on Gender-based Health for the United Nations.

Prior to the panel discussion, GAWH facilitated several meetings of the Council on Gender-based Health and the Friends of the UN Diabetes Resolution (FUNDR), chaired by Member States, to discuss the most effective ways to ensure diabetes, women's health, and diabetes and pregnancy were mentioned in the official outcome document from the ECOSOC AMR, the Ministerial Declaration. GAWH proposed potential language for the Ministerial Declaration and distributed it at a joint meeting of the groups in early June. This language was subsequently submitted to the G77, who supported amendments to the declaration to include specific mention of diabetes and NCDs and maternal health. (For additional information regarding the role of the caucuses in the Ministerial Declaration language, please refer to the Report on GAWH's website.)

The final version of the Declaration referred to diabetes and maternal health separately, reflects these changes in Paragraph 18, recognizing the societal burden and severe consequences of NCDs, with a specific mention of diabetes in section b. A call for action to improve maternal health is also in the final draft of the Declaration in Paragraph 15.