Harvard University and Santé Diabète Launch in Lancet "Boston Declaration: Diabetes in Humanitarian Crises"

Grenoble, June 06, 2019 - Harvard University and the NGO Santé Diabète with the ICRC, MSF, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the London School of Hygiene & tropical medicine and 60 other international partners have launched together in the newspaper The Lancet the Boston declaration "  Diabetes in humanitarian crises: the Boston Declaration" . The purpose of this declaration is to present a resolution and a common commitment to fight diabetes in humanitarian crises.

According to Dr. Kehlenbrink from the University of Harvard, many countries have made progress in reducing risk factors for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) like tobacco-related diseases or hypertension, but none have been successful in reversing the increasing trend in the prevalence and the mortality of diabetes. "Humanitarian responses were focused on the treatment of infectious diseases, undernutrition, etc.," she said. She adds that "today diabetes kills a large number of people and even more during humanitarian crises, where we do not have precise data to date and no capacities in crisis situations to manage. Chronical diseases have been underfunded and people are not getting the care they need. "

Stéphane Besançon, Director of the NGO Santé Diabète, recalls that during the humanitarian crisis in Mali in 2012, the OCHA (the office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs is a department of the United Nations Secretariat) refused to support the humanitarian action in favor of people with diabetes by declaring that "diabetes is not a priority or an emergency".

For Mr Besançon, it is time to genuinely consider the urgency of managing diabetes in all settings, including humanitarian crises.

A meeting of global health experts was held at the University of Harvard in April 2019 to discuss the immediate needs and the barriers to the handling of diabetes in humanitarian crises and to adopt a program for 'joint action oriented towards rapid action to change this intolerable situation (for more information on the Boston meeting, see http://globalendocrinology.bwh.harvard.edu/symposium).

The Boston Declaration thus sets clear goals for the next three years to improve this situation:

  1. Carry out joint advocacy ;
  2. Ensure universal access to insulin, medicines and diagnostic products for the control of blood sugar and blood pressure in humanitarian crisis ;
  3. Develop common clinical and operational guidelines on the management of diabetes in times of humanitarian crisis ;
  4. Improve data on diabetes in humanitarian crisis.

The signatories that make up the Boston Declaration will hold an annual meeting to monitor progress on each goal.

Read the text of the Boston Declaration