Over 12 per cent of the Cyprus population has diabetes, Health Minister Popi Kanari said on Tuesday, World Diabetes Day.
Like the rest of the world, she added, Cyprus is grappling with a rapid surge of diabetes, now a major public health issue.
Worldwide, since 2000, diabetes has more than doubled, rising from 4.6 per cent of the world population to the current 10.5 per cent. In Cyprus it is 12.7 per cent.
The health minister stressed the need for public awareness to adopt healthy diets, exercise and behaviours that promote diabetes prevention.
“Diabetes is not just a concern for patients and the healthcare system,” she said. “It affects society as a whole, and addressing it requires a collective responsibility.”
Kanari added that, in response to the alarming rise in the number of diabetes cases in Cyprus, the government is looking into updating its national strategy with the input of the Diabetes Association.
The update will set strategic goals for prevention, timely diagnosis and treatment, care, case recording and research.
The EU has invested €216 million to support nearly 120 projects related to diabetes.
Kanari highlighted the health ministry’s commitment to continuous improvement of diabetic clinics in public hospitals and encouraged the creation of similar comprehensive centres in the private sector.
“With the implementation of Gesy, services for people with diabetes have been upgraded, aiming for proper patient information and regulation in diabetes clinics at public hospitals,” she said.
Kanari finally commended the decision of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) to lift the age restriction for providing non-contact diabetes sensors, fostering collaborations for state-of-the-art pump offerings and the inclusion of individuals with diabetes in the patient registry.
Okypy said focus is on the importance of recognising the risk of Type 2 diabetes with the aim of delaying or preventing the onset of diabetic complications.
Larnaca hospital was to be lit up in blue for four hours on Tuesday to bring attention to diabetes while a clinic held there earlier in the day measured blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as offering examinations for peripheral vascular disease.
“Type 2 diabetes and its complications can be delayed or prevented by adopting and following a healthy lifestyle,” Okypy said.