Back to Press Releases Diabetes advocate sets out to raise awareness of the growing diabetes epidemic in developing countries

Press release

Diabetes advocate sets out to raise awareness of the growing diabetes epidemic in developing countries

Clare Rosenfeld, an 18-year old with type 1 diabetes, today embarks on a tour of developing countries in a bid to raise awareness of diabetes issues and to encourage governments to take action.


London, UK, 27 June 2004 - Clare Rosenfeld embarks today on a three-week trip to Tanzania, El Salvador and Bangladesh to generate discussion around the impact of diabetes in developing countries and to encourage governments in those countries and in the West to place more of a priority on tackling the disease. She will be visiting diabetes care centres and meeting people with diabetes as well as healthcare professionals and representatives of national diabetes associations.

The diabetes landscape in developing countries is becoming critical, with the World Health Organisation and International Diabetes Federation predicting the number of people with the disease will increase by 150% in the next 25 years1. In developing countries those most frequently affected by diabetes are people of working age, between 35 and 642, which means the growth in diabetes will have a huge economic impact if it is not addressed immediately.

By visiting medical centres where diabetes care programmes have been implemented successfully, Clare aims to highlight to governments in developing countries who are currently not doing enough and those in the West, the amount that can be achieved with just a small amount of investment and infrastructural development. "I am very excited to see how these countries are approaching diabetes care. They are an excellent example of how investment in prevention, education and treatment can radically improve peoples' quality of life", she says.

"Clare's visit will highlight the hard work we are doing here and show what can be accomplished through sustainable approaches to diabetes care and collaborating with partners such as ministries of health, healthcare professionals and companies, such as Novo Nordisk," says Dr Kaushik Ramaiya, honorary general secretary of the Tanzania Diabetes Association. "I hope the successful work we are doing at the Muhimbili National Hospital and regional clinics will be an incentive for others throughout the world to take action and lead to much needed funding and education," he adds.

On her trip, Clare will learn first hand about the numerous obstacles to the provision of diabetes care which are prevalent in developing countries, particularly, the lack of funding for national diabetes programmes. This shortfall is compounded by a severe shortage of diabetes specialists, infrastructure and resources to educate and train healthcare personnel and their patients. Furthermore, for people living in semi-urban or rural areas with no access to healthcare education or even the bare minimum of healthcare facilities, there are likely to be delays in diagnosis, and serious diabetes-related complications3. Clare hopes that her trip will demonstrate to the international community that resources need to be better utilised and action is urgently needed to address these issues.

Clare has been actively involved in diabetes advocacy initiatives on a national and global level, since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 11 years ago. Her work has encompassed roles such as National Youth Advocate for the American Diabetes Association, International Diabetes Youth Ambassador for Children With Diabetes and member of the International Diabetes Federation Consultative Section on Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes. Her goal is to increase awareness of diabetes, unite people with the disease throughout the world and encourage governments to make it a priority on national healthcare agendas. She believes, "one person can make a difference, and together we can change the world for the better."

Clare's trip to developing countries is being sponsored by Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes, with a vision to achieve better health and quality of life for all people with diabetes. In order to provide sustainable solutions to diabetes care, in 2001, Novo Nordisk instigated its National Diabetes Programme (NDP) in eight developing countries: China, India, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Malaysia, Tanzania and Zambia.

Each of these initiatives came about in partnership with local experts, who helped develop diabetes action plans to improve diabetes awareness, educate healthcare professionals and build diabetes care infrastructure. The NDP actively promotes collaboration between all parties in the healthcare system, to ensure the country can continue activities independently in the long term.


For further information please contact:
Mapoko Mbelenge Ilondo, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Relations, Novo Nordisk
Tel: +45 30 79 16 22

Note to editors:
Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care. The company has the broadest diabetes product portfolio in the industry, including the most advanced products within the area of insulin delivery systems. In addition, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services that make a significant difference to patients, the medical profession and society. With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 18,800 full-time employees in 69 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk's B shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Copenhagen and London. Its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'NVO'. For more information, visit

1 WHO database May 2004. Diabetes Action Now: An initiative of the World Health Organisation and International Diabetes Federation

2 International Diabetes Federation website. Facts and Figures: Did you know?

3 Novo Nordisk Sustainability Report, 2003

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