On 22-23 June 2014 the Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI) and the International Centre for Migration, Health and Development (ICMHD) held an International Meeting on Diabetes and Tuberculosis. The meeting was held at DDI in Kuwait, and brought together over 60 participants including experts from China, Qatar, the UK and USA as well as Kuwait.
The meeting was called because of the growing global problem of diabetes and TB and the need for urgent action to prevent the situation from becoming worse. An estimated 382 million people worldwide are living with diabetes and over 3.4 million people die every year from diabetes related complications. Tuberculosis is also on the rise, and the World Health Organization has declared it a global emergency. In 2012 an estimated 8.6 million people developed TB and 1.3 million died from the disease.
The experts discussed the relationship between these two diseases and concluded that people living with diabetes have between 2.4 and 8 times higher risk of developing TB than other people. People living with diabetes and TB, moreover, are up to 4 times more likely to fail TB treatment even when they adhere to treatment regimens. The linked presence of diabetes and TB threatens to impose a difficult burden on the infected people, their families and the healthcare systems they rely on for treatment. The adverse impact of these combined diseases on national development threatens to be massive if steps are not taken quickly to prevent this double burden from becoming more established.
After a comprehensive review of currently available data, the meeting concluded that the diabetes-TB link calls for urgent action by national health authorities and urged the Dasman Diabetes Institute as the GCC Referral Centre for Diabetes to take up this matter with, and on behalf of, the Ministry of Health of Kuwait. The meeting also recommended that the DDI assess the situation in Kuwait and prepare guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures that can be followed by health care personnel in the country. It also asked the DDI to develop training programs for clinicians in Kuwait on the issue of diabetes and TB.