Saturday, 23rd of June, was the official launch of the third House of Diabetes in Tunisia, on the southern island of Djerba in collaboration with Novo Nordisk Laboratories. The inaugural ceremony took place in the presence of esteemed guests: the Minister of Social Affairs, The Ambassador of the kingdom of Denmark in Tunisia, the Governor of Madnin district, the president of the Association of Doctors of Sfax and the vice-president of the STEDIAM (The Tunisian Society of Endocrinology). A wide range of civil society actors, activists and healthcare professionals from all sectors were also present.
Houses of Diabetes are organizational structures where people with diabetes, their families and friends can access educational sessions and materials, be heard and counselled, and gather for various social and community activities. These structures already exist in both of the biggest cities of Tunisia: Tunis and Sfax. Also supported by Novo Nordisk Tunisia, they welcome all year round people with diabetes and those who surround them and take care of them. In 2017, Novo Nordisk has sponsored more than thirty activities in the houses of diabetes of Tunis and Sfax, such as screening, awareness sessions and scientific symposia, organized by volunteers and medical societies.
The new House of Diabetes of Djerba, located in front of the bus and coach terminal, will be easily accessible to people living in the Tunisian South-East. Co-managed by the Association of people with diabetes of Djerba and the Association of doctors of Djerba, and chaperoned by the House of Diabetes of Sfax, the new House was supported by Novo Nordisk Tunisia since the early stages of its conception.
Thanks to a multi-lateral partnership, involving Novo Nordisk Tunisia, scholarly associations, non-profit organizations, and the public sector, the project was carried out effectively and within four months the House of Diabetes was inaugurated on the island. Today, thousands of people living with diabetes in the Tunisian South-East, a priority development region, will have access to educational services, nutritional counselling, and other important activities in the management of diabetes, with this new organization.
During the inaugural ceremony, the Minister of Social Affairs held a speech where he highlighted the burden of diabetes in Tunisia. He presented diabetes as a fast-growing epidemic with dramatic social and public health consequences. In fact, the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in Tunisia is estimated at 15%, with a higher prevalence in the urban regions in comparison to the rural regions . It is one of the fifth leading causes of death in the country and the latest figures predict that by the year 2027, about 27% of the Tunisian population will have diabetes. Furthermore, the Minister also indicated the importance of prevention, in order to contain the epidemic and its economic and social burdens.
“The burden of non-communicable diseases is, in fact, a challenge for the Tunisian health system. Moreover, many people with diabetes are unable to achieve optimal control of their health conditions. Novo Nordisk Tunisia position itself as a partner of the Ministry of Health, supporting national efforts to achieve the sustainable development goal of reducing non-communicable diseases”, declared Mohamed Larbi Jelassi Head of Market Access and Public Affairs at Novo Nordisk Tunisia during the inaugural ceremony, on Saturday.
Novo Nordisk Tunisia supports patient education in the Houses of Diabetes and supports screening campaigns in different regions of the country including hard-to-reach communities. Jelassi also explained how Novo Nordisk has a history of more than 30 years of collaboration with the country, providing insulins and other medicine even through hardship periods such as the ongoing crisis.
Her Excellency Julie Elisabeth Pruzan-Jorgensen the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark in Tunisia also held a speech during the inaugural ceremony describing the “strong relations between Denmark and Tunisia” and how Novo Nordisk Tunisia falls within a partnership built on mutual respect and trust between the two countries.
This event was part of a long history of collaboration that will endure and flourish. Novo Nordisk Tunisia has framed a long-term strategy to strengthen our private-public partnership and ensure a continuous access to our products for patients all over Tunisia.
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M. F. D. a. N. A. Habiba Ben Romdhane, «Prevalence of diabetes in
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 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, «GBD Compare | Viz Hub,» 2016. [En ligne]. Available: https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/. [Accès le 21 06 2018].
 O. Saidi, M. O’Flaherty, N. Ben Mansour, W. Aissi, O. Lassoued, S. Capewel, J. A. Critchley, D. Malouche et H. Ben Romdhane, «Forecasting Tunisian type 2 diabetes prevalence to 2027: validation of a simple model,» BMC Public Health, p. 15: 104, 2015
Find out if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes
Download the poster and help others know their risk. WDD infographic poster
Take part in the Global Walk for Diabetes at the Urban North Center, November 11th.
The Tunisian Diabetes Month is an initiative launched and maintained by Novo Nordisk Tunisia for 3 years.