UN celebrates Diabetes Day via illumination

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United Nations, Nov 15 (UNI) The UN headquarters joined 800 monuments throughout the world being lit up in blue at 1830 hrs last night as part of the ''Bring Diabetes to Light'' campaign, which aimed to highlight the impact of the disease affecting more than 180 million people worldwide.

Other participants in the World Diabetes Day that lighted up included the Pyramids, the Sphinx, the London Eye, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Niagara Falls, the Tower of London, the Kuwait Towers, the Sears Tower, the Alamo and the Burj al-Arab.

The monuments either lighted up in blue or lit a blue circle ''the circle symbolising life and health and the colour blue reflecting the sky that unites all nations'' as part of the campaign by the International Diabetes Foundation.

An estimated 70-80 million people are affected by diabetes in India.

In his message to mark World Diabetes Day yesterday, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged for more action to inform children and adults about the warning signs of the disease, particularly in the developing world, as diabetes is often diagnosed late or misdiagnosed as the flu.

''This year, we focus on the challenge of diabetes among children and adolescents. It is on of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can strike children at any age,'' said Mr Ban.

''We must also ensure access to proper medical care. Many children in the developing world die from diabetes because they do not have insulin,'' he added.

In 2005 alone more than one million people died from diabetes, of whom almost 80 per cent were from low and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The secretary-general warned that without immediate action the number of people worldwide with diabetes would continue to multiply, as will the number of deaths, the organisation warned.

''WHO projects that without urgent action, deaths from diabetes will increase by more than 50 per cent in the next 10 years. And by 2030, the number of people worldwide with diabetes, currently more than 180 million, is likely to double,'' the report said.

Mr Ban thanked the International Diabetes Federation and the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh for co-sponsoring a panel discussion on diabetes and further congratulated Bangladesh for the country's strong commitment to the UN.

''Let us each do our part to shine a light on the impact of this deadly disease, and to light the way toward improved health services and care,'' he said.

UNI XC RJ VC1105

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