Dr. Anil Kapur, an internist by training, is the Chairman of the board the World Diabetes Foundation, Denmark. He has been associated with the Foundation since its inception in 2002 and previously served as Vice Chairman and Managing Director. WDF is one of the largest funding agencies supporting improvement in diabetes prevention and care in the developing world. Working in partnerships with local champions, national governments and international organizations, WDF has funded over 550 projects in over 110 countries around the world to create innovative and sustainable solutions for people with diabetes and healthcare systems.
Dr. Kapur has over 40 years’ experience in clinical medicine, clinical and operational research, clinical trials, business, public health and health advocacy. He has been involved in the global efforts to improve access to prevention, diagnosis and care for diabetes and bring attention to the fundamental links between NCDs and maternal health and between diabetes and TB. These initiatives on diabetes provide a platform to help integrate health systems to address SDG 3 by focusing on the interconnectedness of maternal and child health, infectious diseases and NCDs.
Dr. Kapur set up the Indian Affiliate of Novo Nordisk and was the Managing Director of and Vice President South Asia Region. He also set up the Novo Nordisk Education Foundation (NNEF) in India.
Dr. Kapur has received the Prince Henrik Medal of Honor from Denmark, and Life time achievement recognition from several institutions.
Health is one of the most important factor for human capital as well as socio economic development, yet unfortunately it does not receive adequate attention by individuals, society and those responsible for governance. The consequence of poor living conditions and nutrition is creating a health disaster in slow motion in the form of NCDs. Compartmentalization of health, inequitable distribution of resource to address prevention and care; focus on short term solutions and the inability to address the interconnectedness of issues is adding to the problem.
To address these fundamental issues we need to highlight the importance of health and ensure universal health coverage. The greatest need to address NCDs in general but diabetes in particular, is building advocacy and creating meaningful awareness that empowers individuals to take action to prevent diseases and the ability for self-care.
Because of its widespread ramifications, diabetes provides a great context to the above issues as well as the opportunity to address health in a holistic way. It demonstrates the interconnectedness of social context, maternal health, infections and other NCDs, it shows the relevance of health promotion and prevention; the importance of health education and patient empowerment and most importantly addressing diabetes starts a virtuous cycle that impact multiple other problems.
Health system strengthening should start with building a robust primary health care structure which links health promotion and prevention with health care delivery. It requires extensive use of information technology for awareness, empowering, capacity building, managing logistics, record keeping, triaging, follow up and evaluation and monitoring. This will ensure integration and breaking down silos.
This is the model the World Diabetes Foundation is trying to build through funding its multiple innovative projects demonstrating their feasibility and efficacy in low resource settings, and then scaling up to create national programs in many low and middle income countries.