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Joburg one of the Cities Changing Diabetes

At the first global Cities Changing Diabetes Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, today, it was announced that the City of Joburg together with the City of Vancouver will join Mexico City, Shanghai, Tianjin, Copenhagen and Houston as partner in addressing the urban diabetes challenge. With an official population of 4.5 million people, Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and the first in Africa to join Cities Changing Diabetes.

More than two thirds of the world’s 400 million people with diabetes live in urban areas.

In South Africa alone, more than 2.7 million people live with diabetes, 4 out of 5 living in cities.

The Cities Changing Diabetes initiative is a response to the rapidly increasing number of people with diabetes now living in urban areas, as well as to the ways in which urbanisation is impacting on the risk of developing diabetes.

The programme aims to find out more about how urban environments and living conditions contribute so significantly to the risk of city dwellers developing diabetes. This dovetails with the City of Joburg’s Vision 2030, which aims to significantly improve the quality of life for all residents over the next 15 years.

“We have learnt from experience that the way in which the cities are laid out and managed has a direct impact on the health and well-being of their residents,” says Nonceba Molwele, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Health and Social Development in the City of Joburg. “Our aim in joining Cities Changing Diabetes is to learn as much as we can from international experience and to find innovative ways of approaching the diabetes issue in our city.”

The Cities Changing Diabetes programme involves mapping the true extent of the condition, identifying ‘hot issues’, sharing solutions and upscaling programmes aimed at reducing the risk of developing diabetes in urban populations, improving treatment outcomes, and making cities healthier places in which to live, work and play As a partnership programme, it encourages city leadership, urban planners, communities, the business sector, healthcare professionals and academics to work together in developing solutions..

“This is the first-ever partnership of its kind,” says Dr Timmy Kedijang, Vice President and General Manager of Novo Nordisk South Africa, “Our objective is to ensure that we mobilise as many resources as possible at our disposal and come up with workable, sustainable solutions to ensure healthier communities.”

A delegation from the City of Joburg including the MMC, the VP and General Manager of Novo Nordisk South Africa and representatives from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), travelled to Copenhagen in Denmark to be officially inducted to the programme at the global Cities Changing Diabetes Summit, 16 November.


About Cities Changing Diabetes

Cities Changing Diabetes is a partnership programme to address the urban diabetes challenge. Initiated by Novo Nordisk, it is a response to the dramatic rise of urban diabetes and has been developed in partnership with University College London and Steno Diabetes Center, as well as a range of local partners including the diabetes/health community, city governments, academic institutions, city experts from a variety of fields and civil society organisations. The aim of the programme is to map the problem, share solutions and drive concrete action to fight the diabetes challenge in the big cities around the world. For more information, visit

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  1. Samson Samson

    need a cure for diabetic,please help

    • Ah, Samson, don’t we all! Unfortunately there isn’t one yet…

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.