Malta plays significant part in global fight against diabetes – Sir Michael Hirst

President of the International Diabetes Foundation Sir Michael Hirst praises Malta’s commitment to diabetes

The president of the international diabetes foundation Sir Michael Hirst, addressed the diabetes working committee members at a session in Parliament today. Discussing his reasons for being so active in the field, Sir Michael said that Malta was a very strong player in the international fight against diabetes.

Sir Michael said that he was pleased to see that this issue had been taken up in the national parliament.

“This shows that the country duly recognizes this issue as a serious one,” Sir Michael said referring to the great progress made in such a short period that the committee had been in place.

“I hope the committee can continue in its fast progress, as it is within committees like, where parliamentarians cooperate with those who have first-hand experience of diabetes, that true results can be achieved,” Sir Michael said.

Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil also spoke about the benefits of the committee and its dealings. “Thanks to the careful direction of Godfrey Farrugia, who agreed to chair these meetings, we can all cooperate and push things forward more quickly without looking at party tendencies,” Busuttil said.

“We benefit greatly from the professionals, experts and NGO members who make it a point to attend these meetings. It is our duty as policy makers to push forward their ideas to be further discussed,” Busuttil added.

Speaking about his personal experience, Sir Michael said that he realised that diabetes was an issue that deserved further discussion when it struck his own five-year old daughter. “It was then I realised how  many challenges and how much stigma diabetes sufferers have to face,” Sir Michael said recalling how diabetes sufferers were not allowed to have disposable injections to administer insulin shots for free even in spite of the National Health Service.

“The UN resolution on diabetes, is, to this day, the only resolution about non-communicable diseases, and it aims to raise international awareness and the level of importance given to the condition internationally.

“The resolution ultimately led to the implementation of global targets in 2012. Our task as the IDF now is to ensure that national governments live up to the promises they had made in these targets. I want to ensure that these targets are something everyone is committed to achieve, because if these targets are met, there will be better care and more effective cures and practices for diabetes. All of these aspects  would lead to a better life for diabetes sufferers,” Sir Michael added.

Former health minister Godfrey Farrugia sadi the committee was on the verge of delivering on its objectives to provide analysis of policy framework, determine better pathways and screening of diabetes and having research based on policies and what is feasible and what resources are needed.

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