Rights and Responsibilities

It is now appreciated that treatment of the person with diabetes goes beyond the use of pharmaceutics to achieve optimal glycaemic control. In addition to optimal medical treatment it is important that patients are equipped with the knowledge and skills to cope with the condition. Education is a fundamental and ongoing feature of patient empowerment which enables the patient to master diabetes (to the extent that the individual experience of the condition permits) allowing participation in society on an equal platform to those without diabetes.

Rights and Responsibilities

Being accepted, without prejudice, as a full and equal member of society is associated not only with rights but with the duties and responsibilities which are taken on with the accordance of those rights.

The International Diabetes Federation IDF has recognised the societal complexities facing people with diabetes and in April 2011 launched an International Charter of Rights and Responsibilities of People with Diabetes.

The vision of this Charter is to:

  • optimise health and quality of life
  • enable as normal a life as possible
  • reduce/eliminate the barriers which deny realisation of full potential as members of society.


The Charter supports people with diabetes in their battles against the stigma, the many prejudices and even discrimination, which many of them face each day and in a variety of circumstances. In addition to its larger global, institutional and social implications the Charter provides a focus for the individual.

It is noteworthy that this Charter promotes patient empowerment via concordance. It calls upon healthcare professionals to provide adequate information and education to the patient whilst stating that the patient should be honest with healthcare professionals regarding their health/lifestyle status and compliance with current care/treatment strategies. By supporting the patient to be a partner in the planning of care - with open dialogue between patient and healthcare professional - the patient is being equipped to manage that care to provide optimal individual outcomes.

So, the Charter supports the fundamental right of people with diabetes to live a full life with fair opportunities to learn and work, but it recognises also that people with diabetes have responsibilities. However it is imperative that this Charter is translated into action.

International Diabetes Federation. Link to the International Charter of Rights and Responsibilities of People with Diabetes: http://www.idf.org/webdata/docs/advocacy-kit/Charter-of-rights.pdf ( accessed April 2011)

Dr. Wim Wientjens is IDF Special Ambassador for the Rights and Responsibilities of People with Diabetes. He has a PhD in biochemistry and has been living with diabetes since 1951. www.wimwientjens.com


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