Pakistan is 3rd highest burden of people living with diabetes and the rate in which diabetes is increasing

Spread the love

Islamabad,  (Parliament Times) :  Diabetes in Pakistan is increasing at an alarming rate. Pakistan has 3rd highest burden of people living with diabetes and the rate in which diabetes is increasing Pakistan is world number 1 country with fastest growth of diabetes. In just two years no. of people living with diabetes has increased from 19.4 million to 33 million. If no urgent policy action taken, number of people living with diabetes will increase to 62 million by 2045. Sugary drinks are major contributors to diabetes. Government shall take immediate policy actions to reduce their consumption. This was stated by health, policy and economic experts and parliamentarians in “Dissemination of International Diabetic Federation Atlas 2021” organized by Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) at a local hotel in Islamabad. Event was attended by Parliamentarians, health professionals, government representatives, civil society and media. The event was hosted by PANAH’s General Secretary Sanaullah Ghumman. The guests included Professor Dr. Basit Ali, Secretary General diabetic association of Pakistan, Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, President, Pakistan medical association, Major. Gen. (R) Masud ur Rehman Kiani, President PANAH, Mr. Munawar Hussain, consultant at Global Health Advocacy Incubator, , Uzma Jadoon, MNA,Dr. Shehzad Ali Khan, VC, health services academy, Col. Dr. Shakeel Ahmed Mirza, Dr. Mazhar Qayyum, Eye specialist, Dr. Baseer Achakzai, Ms. Sarwat Tahira Habib, advisor sales tax and excise FTO, Senator Sardar Shafique civil society representatives, health professionals and media. Dr. Shazia Aslam Soomro was the chief guest of the occasion.
While addressing to conference, Gen. Masud Ur Rehman Kiania said that one of the major cause of recent alarming increase in NCDs in Pakistan is our unhealthy food choices. If government does not take effective policy actions immediately like imposing heavy taxes on SSBs to reduce their consumption then we will have a severe challenge to our public health. He urged policy makers to play their role in taking effective policy measures to reduce the consumption of SSBs to control diabetes. Professor Dr. Abdul Basit, general secretary, diabetic association of Pakistan shared the key finding of IDF Atlas 2021. Mr. Munawar Hussain shared that sugar sweetened beverages are among the major contributors of diabetes. Regular intake of sugary drinks is associated with 30 % higher risk of developing type II diabetes. More than 50 countries in the world have successfully decreased the consumption of sugary drinks and control diabetes through policy actions with increase in tax as first and most effective step. As per International Diabetes Federation, the annual cost of managing diabetes in Pakistan has been increased to USD 2640 million in 2021. This shows that diabetes is a severe threat to public health and economy. Taxes on SSBs in Pakistan are quite lower than other countries of region and world. Government must take immediate policy actions to reduce to the consumption of SSBs to control diabetes by increasing tax on SSBs and urgently increase federal excise duty to a minimum of 30 %. Dr. Nisar Cheema senior leader and MNA, PML-N said that the findings of IDF Atlas 2021 are eye opening for all of us. He assured that he along with other parliamentarians will raise voice in assembly on increasing taxes on SSBs.
Mr. Sana Ullah Ghumman said that PANAH is engaged at all levels from general public to law and policy makers increase awareness in general public on health harms of sugar sweetened beverages and for laws and policies to reduce the consumption of these unhealthy drinks. He said that beverage industry is misguiding policy makers at every step and creating barriers to the policy process. It is unfortunate that such an important bill submitted by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination is stalled at cabinet. Earlier the bill was stalled at FBR and PANAH filed a petition in 2020 to ombudsman to revitalize the bill and got success. However, beverage industry is trying to block the bill at every step due to their corporate interest and they don’t have any interest with the health of public. He requested Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Health Minister of Pakistan to intervene and build consensus for approval of this life saving health contribution bill at earliest. Senator Sardar Shafique Tareen assured his support to PANAH and will raise his voice in parliament

Similar Posts