14 November 2016 marks World Diabetes Day. This year's theme, "Eyes on Diabetes", is a reminder that diabetes is among the leading causes of blindness and visual impairment. WHO calls on governments, health professionals, civil society, researchers - all of us - to keep our "Eyes on Diabetes" and make a contribution towards improving the outcomes for people living with the disease.

The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. Factors driving this dramatic rise, which is largely on account of type 2 diabetes, include overweight and obesity. The new report calls upon governments to ensure that people are able to make healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes.

World Health Day 2016: Beat diabetes

World Health Day 2016 poster

The main goals of the World Health Day 2016 campaign are to increase awareness about the rise in diabetes, and its staggering burden and consequences, in particular in low- and middle-income countries; and to trigger a set of specific, effective and affordable actions to tackle diabetes.

Feature story: Surviving the war to fight diabetes as a refugee

WHO/J. Swan

Hammad Faleh, 32, fled Syrian Arab Republic with his wife and 3 children in 2012 to escape the horrors of war. Many Syrian refugees have been forced to leave their homes and seek sanctuary in Jordan. He survived the war but now battles a chronic disease, diabetes, in a new country. Without access to medication, Hammad could die.

fact buffet

422 Millionadults have diabetes.

Global report on diabetes

1.6 milliondeaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.

Fact sheet: diabetes

1 in 3 adultsaged over 18 years is overweight and 1 in 10 is obese.

10 facts about diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin. In the past three decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself. For people living with diabetes, access to affordable treatment, including insulin, is critical to their survival. There is a globally agreed target to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025.

About the diabetes programme

The mission of the WHO Diabetes Programme is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to minimize complications and maximize quality of life for all people with diabetes. Our core functions are to set norms and standards, promote surveillance, encourage prevention, raise awareness and strengthen prevention and control.

Contact us

Ms Laura Sminkey
Communications Officer
E-mail: sminkeyl@who.int
Tel.: +41 22 791 4547
Mob.: +41 79 249 3520