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The IDF European (EU) Region is a wonderful example of unity in diversity – different cultures, healthcare systems, different levels of resources. There are a multitude of unique experiences from country to country where we can learn from each other and adapt to our own culture where appropriate.

However, the increasing numbers show that the EU is facing a diabetes pandemic similar to the rest of the world, despite the favourable outcomes of scientific studies to prevent diabetes and its burden.

In the recent IDF Europe publication ‘Integrating Diabetes Evidence into Practice: challenges and opportunities to bridge the gaps’, we mapped the challenges and the opportunities to bridge the gaps between the available scientific evidence and the real life practices at different levels across Europe. These include the healthcare system level, healthcare professional level and the level of people living with diabetes.

The IDF European region has the highest number of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes in the world.  Young people are the future of IDF member associations and they have an immense capacity with their out-of-the-box thinking. We have therefore initiated the YOURAH program for youth, leveraging our members and the European representatives of the IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes program. I wish want to thank IDF Europe Board Members Kyle Jacques Rose, Cristina Petrut  and Iryna Vlasenko, as well as Elisabeth Dupont from our Regional Office for their guidance and coordination, and to all the youth advocates who are currently participating in our programme.

When it comes to improving the lives of people with diabetes and those at risk in Europe, we must concentrate all our efforts towards the implementation of the political commitments declared by several political institutions. Through our IMPACT Diabetes Pledge, we want to strengthen our network of European Parliamentarians in order to make our voice heard more strongly, prioritise diabetes on the political agenda and motivate decision-makers to follow-up on the political commitments made.

Şehnaz Karadeniz is the Chair of the IDF European Region

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