The incidence of diabetes mellitus in Mexico will have risen 40% by the year 2012, killing over 100,000 Mexicans during that year, according to Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, Health Secretary, Mexico.

Mexico, with a population of just over 100 million, currently has 10 million people with diabetes (types 1 and 2). Approximately 67,000 people will have died from diabetes by the end of this year. Villalobos says obesity, overweight and the insufficient consumption of fruit and vegetables are the main reasons for the recent increase in new diabetes cases.

Diabetes has become Mexico’s main cause of limb loss and blindness. Under 20% of the people with diabetes have their blood glucose levels under control (monitored).

During World Diabetes Day, Villalobos said (translated) “It is the first cause of death. There is an ever-rising cost in the treatment and care for people with diabetes. Hospital services are bursting at the seems. Diabetes has become a serious potential threat for health services in Mexico. Hence, we have put in place a national program aimed at reducing mortality by 20% – which will reduce the annual number of deaths by 2,500.”

Villalobos confirmed that national agencies, such as IMSS*, ISSSTE**, Sedena***, Semar****, Pemex*****, and DIF****** will converge in this health drive aimed at lasting from 2008 through 2018. The aim includes urgent modernization of health services, improving diabetes patient monitoring as well as other chronic diseases, treatment compliance (adherence), physician training, and the coordination of civil organizations with health agencies.

“We must make sure interventions are carried out early, as diabetes type II has become more prevalent among children and adolescents. The motto shall be ‘No child should die from diabetes'”, Villalobos added.

According to Santiago Echevarria Zunom, Director of Medical Services, IMSS, one third of doctor’s visits are taken up by diabetes, with 9,116,682 doctor’s visits, 622,818 hospitalizations and over 300,000 emergency room visits. “By 2010, IMSS estimates there will be a total of 2,400,000 more cases, and another 4,300,000 by the year 2020,” he added.

Zunom said that 20,857 people died from diabetes in 2006. 57.7% experienced complications during their illness.

* IMSS (Instituto Mexicano Del Seguro Social)
Mexico’s Nacional Health Service.

** ISSSTE (Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado)
Healthcare coverage for employees.

*** Sedena (Secretaria de Defensa)
Defense department.

**** Semar (Secretaria de la Marina – Armada de Mexico)
The Navy.

***** PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos)
Mexican state-owned oil company

****** DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia)
Social services

Written by – Christian Nordqvist