International Diabetes Federation Europe in the spotlight

  1. What’s on the top of your agenda?

Political advocacy remains a priority, both nationally and at a European level, on policy development and implementation. But this does not diminish any focus on our other activities, such as our youth engagement through our annual youth leadership camp and involvement in diabetes research, both on a clinical and population level. We also want to reinforce and further cement ties with our members, through regional meetings and the member staff change programme.

  1. Why does your organisation exist?

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Europe and IDF as a whole exist to be the voice for diabetes. At IDF Europe, we represent 70 national associations in 47 countries across Europe, representing a mixture of patient and healthcare professional organisations. Our strength comes from our members, and it is they who continually provide our motivation to push for change, at all levels. We exist because of them.

  1. What is your biggest achievement as an organisation?

Several come to mind. The 1989 St Vincent Declaration, the follow-up Istanbul Declaration of 1999, the establishment of the EU Diabetes Working Group in 2002 (EUDWG), and Policy Puzzle publications (four editions to date), the 2012 EU Resolution, and the continued success of the Youth Leadership Camp.

  1. What is for you the key benefit of your organisation’s involvement in EPF?

Being part of the wider patient community is as important for us as just focusing on diabetes. Patients’ perceptions from all other conditions are vital if we are to understand their needs, and then go on to advocate for them. EPF therefore provides a higher platform with a greater voice, bringing together all and every disease area.

  1. What’s the main misconception about your disease area?

‘Diabetes only affects the old’, ‘It’s because you eat too much (sugar)’, and ‘It’s your /my fault’. Unless people know someone with diabetes, these are the type of comments that arise. People cannot always differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which manifest quite differently.  We believe, however, that together with the efforts of our members we’re gradually overcoming the misconceptions by increasing diabetes awareness and knowledge about the condition.

Prof. Sehnaz Karadeniz

Prof. Sehnaz Karadeniz

Prof Sehnaz Karadeniz, Chair of IDF Europe and an ophthalmologist, has been actively involved in the field of diabetes for the past 20 years. A founding member of the Turkish Diabetes Foundation in 1996, she sits on numerous national and international boards and is also a Professor of Ophthalmology at Istanbul Bilim University.

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