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Diabetes kills 1,100 people every day in Pakistan

The taxes on Sugar Sweetened Beverages should be increased to reduce sugar consumption and the burden of diseases

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With the joint efforts of of Diabetic Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Hypertension League, Pakistan, Cardiovascular Forum, Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetics Society under the auspices of Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), an important media session was held at Karachi Press Club on the harmful effects of Sugar Sweetened Beverages . General Secretary of PANAH Sana Ullah Ghumman hosted the media session. Sindh Assembly Leader of Opposition Haleem Adil Sheikh was the special guest. A large number of journalists were present on the occasion.

At the beginning of the media session (PANAh) General Secretary and Director Operations Sana Ullah Ghumman said that the foundation of Pakistan National Heart Association was laid in 1984.PANAH nationally and internationally Popular organization because of its awareness of other deadly diseases, including heart. PANAH also provides information to the public on the causes of diseases, so that timely measures can be taken to prevent the spread of deadly diseases, but this is not possible without the cooperation of government .

Leader of opposition in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh said that health is one of the top priorities of PTIs government. The PTI government is taking important steps to overcome the disease burden. Today’s media session contains very important information, Such sessions should be held in every province, so that the people can know the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. I am sure the PTIs central government will take all possible policy measures for reducing consumption of unhealthy foods like sugar sweetened beverages and related diseases.

Prof. Abdul Basit, Director, General Secretary Diabetic Association of Pakistan, while highlighting the current serious situation of diabetes in Pakistan, said that diabetes is increasing alarmingly in Pakistan. The number of people living with diabetes in Pakistan has increased from 19 million to 33 million in the last two years. Pakistan has surpassed the United States in the number of people living with diseases and now ranked 3rd highest globally. In addition to diabetes there are 10 million people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Obesity has doubled in children during last seven year. If immediate steps are not taken the situation will become out of control. Our country’s children and adolescent are even now become diabetic.

On this occasion, the President Major General (Retd) Masood-ur-Rehman Kayani addressing online said that the people are suffering from various diseases, that is why the PANAH always talks about simple life and simple food, we have changed our priorities, Simple food has been replaced by junk food and Sugar Sweetend Beverages now a days, which is why people all over the world, including Pakistan, are suffering from deadly diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Dr. Khawaja Masood Ahmad, National Coordinator of Nutrition, said that excessive consumption of Sugar Sweetend Beverages is one if the major cause of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other NCDs, so we need to focus on our diet and stop taking Sugar Sweetend Beverages, so that our young generation can be protected from deadly diseases.

Secretary General Pakistan Hypertension League and Executive Member Cardiovascular Forum Prof. Muhammad Ishaq said that heart disease in Pakistan is increasing alarmingly, 47 people die every hour in Pakistan due to heart attack.Diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension are deadly, so we need to not only avoid Sugar Sweetend Beverages, but also increase taxes on them to reduce their access to the public.

Sana Ullah Ghumman, General Secretary of Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), said that the Federal Minister Shaukat Tareen mentioned it is not the right time to introduce new taxes of Sugar Sweetened beverages and tobacco.This statement of the Minister of Finance in really sad and we condemn it. People are asking whether the increase in diabetes with more than 19 million to 33 million cases is not enough? Or will we wait for the increase in the incidence of more diseases? Is it time to increase electricity and gas prices? The PTI government should take all possible steps to control the diseases included all NCDs.

Munawar Hussain, from Food Policy Program, said that increase tax on Sugar Sweetened beverages is an evidence based strategy to reduce consumption and non communicable diseases. The revenue raised through tax collection will help improve health care and provide subsidies on fruits and vegetables.

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