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Today, the World Health Organization is marking its annual World Health Day with a call to action on diabetes.

PharmAccess World Diabetes Day 2015 - 210x270mm

Diabetes is a major global health issue with an alarming growth rate: in 2014, 422 million adults (or 8.5% of the population) had diabetes, compared with 108 million in 1980.Out of these 422 million people, majority live in developing countries. In Africa, 14 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes. At the same time, it is estimated that up to 70% of diabetics on the continent are undiagnosed.

Effective treatment of both communicable and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes require functioning health systems. PharmAccess builds trust on both the demand and the supply side of the healthcare market by designing, implementing and researching market-based health financing and delivery innovations.

One aspect of this integrated approach is increasing access to affordable health insurance. Access to healthcare leads to more awareness of health status and makes it more likely that people will seek and receive treatment, especially for chronic diseases such as diabetes. At the same time, PharmAccess works to improve the quality of the healthcare services through clinical and business standards as well as through increasing access to capital for healthcare providers.

Through health insurance programs in Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, PharmAccess is working to improve health outcomes for low-income populations who otherwise would not have been able to access care when they needed it. One example is the Kwara State Health Insurance Program in Nigeria. Comprehensive scientific studies conducted within this program have shown that health outcomes of those enrolled have indeed improved. After 1.5 years in the program, 69.8% of enrollees diagnosed with diabetes had their cholesterol under control and 54.7% had their blood pressure under control. Data from this program were also used in a study that was recently published in The Lancet.