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The role that pharmacists can play in preventing the projected rise in diabetes to 700 million people by 2045 is highlighted in a new resource released by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). Diabetes prevention, screening and management: A handbook for pharmacists provides information on the wide range of pharmaceutical services that pharmacists can provide to reduce the global burden of this disease.

“It is imperative to ensure the healthcare workforce is prepared to care for people with diabetes and those at risk. In 2019, more than half of the 463 million adults with diabetes were not aware they had it. While pharmacists are primarily trained to address health concerns through pharmacological means, they also have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide prevention and screening services,” said Mr Paul Sinclair, Chair, FIP Board of Pharmaceutical Practice.

“By leveraging their accessibility and the trust the public has in them, pharmacists can promote the importance of following a healthy lifestyle, including consuming a healthy diet and participating in regular physical activity — particularly important measures to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-to-95 per cent of cases.

This new FIP publication is part of the Federation’s new Practice Transformation Programme on Non-Communicable Diseases,” Mr Sinclair said. In addition to prevention, screening and referral, the new FIP handbook covers medicines management, non-pharmacological management and advice, and prevention and management of complications such as diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. It also addresses barriers to providing diabetes services.

“You need only spend a few minutes at your local pharmacy to appreciate the significant role the community pharmacist plays in supporting community health. Pharmacists are active members of the healthcare team, providing trusted advice into a community to which, more often than not, they also belong. From a diabetes care perspective, it is a key role,” said Prof Andrew Boulton, President, International Diabetes Federation.

He added: “Advice, of course, should be based on the best available evidence. This publication from the International Pharmaceutical Federation provides pharmacists with everything they need to know to help guide community members to make healthy choices and adopt healthy habits.”