Global health challenges


1 November 2012. The Emthonjeni Community Centre is situated in Zandspruit, an informal settlement west of Johannesburg, South Africa, with about 70 000 residents living in very dense informal housing. The Hope Project runs from this building on the premises and Eli Lilly and Company contributes to the daily running of this Centre, situated in a very poor community with a huge need for free health care and health services. Patients coming to the clinic have been screened in the community and referred to the clinic because they have Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) like hypertension and type two diabetes. Sister Lucia Zweni, who is the first professional nurse that was employed at the Clinic, chats to patient Elsie Msimango (58) who suffers from hypertension. Elsie left the other Clinic in the community because the queues are very long there. At this clinic, they work on an appointment basis, where patients receive a time to arrive, so they don’t have to queue. Most other clinics work on a first come first serve basis so patients arrive early in the mornings and wait to be helped. This makes the clinics very congested early in the morning. Elsie defaulted as a patient at the other clinic as she couldn’t queue that long for medication and medical advice. She has made a lot of progress in the three months she’s been coming to the Clinic at the Emthonjeni Community Centre. She had lots of headaches and dizziness before, but is much better now. Sister Lucia takes her blood pressure, weighs her and dispenses hypertension medicines and vitamins to boost her energy levels. Picture by Lettie Ferreira.


Our industry is actively engaged finding new medicines to treat diabetes and providing patients with the best quality of life possible, and in numerous partnerships on disease awareness and prevention, treatment and diagnosis.

There are currently over 200 medicines to manage diabetes currently being developed by our member companies. Our industry is also engaged in over 40 partnerships for the prevention, timely testing and diagnosis, access to medicines, and management of patients on a course of treatment for diabetes.

Together with cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes is one of the world’s four major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), presenting a major threat to global health. There are 387 million people living with diabetes today, and an expected increase of 205 million additional cases by 2035 if appropriate action is not taken. Nearly 1 in 2 people that have diabetes are undiagnosed, and in many cases, unaware they have the disease. Due to low public awareness levels, a lack of trained healthcare practitioners and insufficient access to treatments, many cases of diabetes go undiagnosed and poorly managed, resulting in long term damages such as blindness, amputation, cardiovascular diseases and kidney failure.

Helping people lead healthy lifestyles is a mean to reversing the trend of the diabetes epidemic. IFPMA works with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the promotion of (healthy eating, moderate consumption of alcohol, physical activity and not smoking) all across the world. It also supports the use of new technologies in promoting healthy behaviours, such as SMS notifications as part of the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU)  partnership, and the mobile app , an easy-to-use, practical guide to help individuals and their health professionals reduce the risks of NCDs.

Our member companies are engaged in over 40 partnerships on disease awareness and prevention, treatment and diagnosis. These programs include activities to raise awareness of diabetes in schools so that children with diabetes are better taken care of by their teachers; training of healthcare workers in caring for diabetes on a wide-scale, or for specific groups such as women with gestational diabetes; differential pricing in low and middle income countries to widen the availability of treatments; helping governments better understand diabetes disease management, and preventing diabetes amputations through early intervention strategies.


Our members are engaged in “wellness programs at work” contributing to employees’ well-being by transforming the workplace into platforms for healthy living with on-site gyms, health education and medical check-ups, and healthy cafeterias.

387 million people

are living with diabetes today

nearly 1 in 2 people

that have diabetes are undiagnosed

80% of diabetes deaths

occur in LMICs

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