Background: With an estimated 74% of all deaths attributable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in 2010, NCDs have become a major health priority in Brazil. The objective of the study was to conduct a comprehensive literature review on diabetes in Brazil; specifically: the epidemiology of type 2 diabetes, the availability of national and regional sources of data (particularly in terms of direct and indirect costs) and health policies for the management of diabetes and its complications.
Methods: A literature search was conducted using PubMed to identify articles containing information on diabetes in Brazil. Official documents from the Brazilian government and the World Health Organization, as well as other grey literature and official government websites were also reviewed.
Results: From 2006 to 2010, an approximate 20% increase in the prevalence of self-reported diabetes was observed. In 2010, it was estimated that 6.3% of Brazilians aged 18 years or over had diabetes. Diabetes was estimated to be responsible for 278,778 years of potential life lost for every 100,000 people. In 2013, it is estimated that about 7% of patients with diabetes has had one or more of the following complications: diabetic foot ulcers, amputation, kidney disease, and fundus changes. The estimated annual direct cost of diabetes was USD $3.952 billion in 2000; the estimated annual indirect cost was USD $18.6 billion. The two main sources of data on diabetes are the information systems of the Ministry of Health and surveys. In the last few years, the Brazilian Ministry of Health has invested considerably in improving surveillance systems for NCDs as well as implementing specific programmes to improve diagnosis and access to treatment.
Conclusions: Brazil has the capacity to address and respond to NCDs due to the leadership of the Ministry of Health in NCD prevention activities, including an integrated programme currently in place for diabetes. Strengthening the surveillance of NCDs is a national priority along with recognising the urgent need to invest in improving the coverage and quality of mortality data. It is also essential to conduct regular surveys of risk factors on a national scale in order to design effective preventive strategies.