Portrait of diabetes in Portugal: a necessary debate | commercial content
Portugal is the second country in the European Union with the highest prevalence of diabetes (13.6%), and it is believed that there are about 2.7 million Portuguese people with diabetes or at risk of developing it. And if these numbers tell us that the situation is already complex and challenging in Portugal, they make us even more reflective given the pandemic situation that has so interfered with the provision of health care in general to the population. After all, what impact have diabetes patients felt in managing their disease over the past year? Did an increase in the number of diagnoses have been observed? Has diabetes been well under control or, on the contrary, has it become a more serious and lethal disease? It was the search for answers to these and other questions that are concerned with the realization of two studies, licensing publicly shared property on the 26th of November, during the debate on the theme “A PRR for diabetes: the opportunity is now”, which will take place in the auditorium of the Public, at 10:00 am, with direct transmission in the local and on Público’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Among the results that will be shared, we highlight the fact that, in 2020, there was a 23% reduction in the number of new cases of diabetes and 62% in the number of obesity diagnoses. According to Joana Sousa, partner from MOAI Consulting – the company that conducted the study “Diagnostics on the monitoring of diabetes in primary health care” -, with these data “we cannot assume that there was a real decrease in the occurrence of these pathologies, because, as we know, they have had a growing over the past two years, but what it is tells us a lot about access to primary health care.”
Also with regard to diabetes treated in the hospital context, there was a 15% reduction in the number of patients, but, as highlighted by Manuel Delgado, former Secretary of State for Health and consultant at IASIST / IQVIA – the company responsible for the study “Impact of Covid-19 on the hospital response to diabetes in Portugal” -, what happened was that this decrease “was associated with an increase in the complexity of patients, a longer hospital stay, a higher mortality and also a higher number of patients with sequelae, namely in amputations due to disease”.
A reconstruction plan needed
For Joana Sousa, the need for a diabetes-specific reconstruction plan is unquestionable, as these new data are joined by those who already knew each other: “Every day, eight people are amputated because of diabetes, three lose their eyesight and every two hours a person dies “as a result of diabetes. In addition, “sedentary lifestyle and obesity are risk factors and Portugal is, at the moment, the second most sedentary country in the OECD and we know that two out of three Portuguese people are overweight or obese”, explains the consultant.
Another big problem that Portugal faces with regard to this pathology is related to the number of people who are ill without knowing it. As Manuel Delgado points out, “this disease is silent, there is a percentage of people with the disease that we do not know about”, which has consequences. Indeed, among patients with diabetes in Portugal, only 55% know they have the disease, so the former Secretary of State for Health considers “very important” the effort that official entities can develop so that the remaining 45% are diagnosed.
Promote debate, support responses
“A PRR for diabetes: the opportunity is now” is an initiative promoted by the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators (APAH), with the support of Novo Nordisk and MOAI Consultoria, providing healthcare institutions with a platform for discussion and support for implementation projects that respond to the challenges of diabetes management in Portugal. To this end, the project has a steering Committee is Task force which, together, proposes to create an agenda for diabetes in Portugal.
The opening session of the event will feature the presence of Alexandre Lourenço, president of APAH, followed by the projection of a video with the main features of the two studies developed by MOAI Consulting and by IASIST / IQVIA, respectively. Without debate, moderated by journalist Dulce Salzedas, we are here João Raposo, president of the Portuguese Society of Diabetology, director of the National Diabetes Observatory and member of the steering Committee, Sónia do Vale, director of the National Diabetes Program of the Directorate-General for Health, João Nabais, vice-president of the International Diabetes Federation, Tiago Taveira-Gomes, specialist in General and Family Medicine and Member of the Task force, and Helena Canhão, full professor of Medicine at the Nova Faculty of Medicine. The closing will be a post of António Lacerda Sales, Deputy Secretary of State and Health.