I am writing this editorial on the World Diabetes Day. This is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight. It is marked every year on 14 November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who was one of the discoverers of insulin in 1922.
World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225.
The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to be the platform to promote by International Diabetes Federation advocacy efforts throughout the year, and to be the global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue.
The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN Resolution on diabetes. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.
Several initiatives are also happening in Norway. One is to put emphasis on diabetes research. The Diabetes Association has a long tradition of distributing research funding to a wide range of diabetes research through the Diabetes Association Research Fund. The Diabetes Association’s Research Award was for the first time awarded in 2017, and aims to stimulate more Norwegian diabetes research. The award committee consists of recognized Nordic researchers.
Simon Dankel and I were invited as previous prize winners (Simon won the Research Award for Young Researchers in 2018, I the senior Research Award in 2017) at the award ceremony at the University of Oslo’s Aula and following dinner at Hotel Bristol. Professor Kåre Birkeland at the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital received the Diabetes Association’s Research Award, for his efforts to improve the treatment of type 2 diabetes and to understand the underlying mechanisms of the disease. Postdoctoral candidate Christine Sommer, who won the Research Award for Younger Researchers, has excelled in Norway and internationally for her research on gestational diabetes.
A very special honor was awarded to Professor Emeritus Kristian Folkvord Hanssen at the University of Oslo receiving the King’s Fortjenestemedalje for his long efforts to better treatment of diabetes. Of extra relevance to us here in Bergen is that his grandfather was Olav Hanssen, a former famous physician and researcher at Haukeland University Hospital. Congratulations to the three winners!!!
Enjoy the week end!