The draft policy on diabetes prevention has been lying in cold storage with the health ministry for the past five years, experts said in Dhaka Tuesday.
About 52 per cent out of the total 7.1 million diabetics in the country still remain undiagnosed and untreated as they are not aware of the disease, they said.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), in Bangladesh 1,29,000 patients died in 2015 due to diabetes which is a high burden.
At present, one in every 11 persons or 8.3 per cent of the adult population is diabetic putting Bangladesh at the 5th position in global ranking.
The prevalence will be one in every 10 persons by 2040 making the number 13.6 million and the position the 5th in the world if necessary measures are not taken, according to the data.
These were revealed during a workshop on 'Non-Communicable Diseases and Sustainable Development Goals' at Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU). DRU with the support of Novo Nordisk organised the workshop for the reporters.
State minister for health Zahid Malek was present as the chief guest with DRU president Jamal Uddin in the chair.
Diabetic Association of Bangladesh president Prof AK Azad Khan said diabetes is a lifelong disease and needs lifelong care and education of the patients.
NCDs are rising faster in Bangladesh than in the developed world although diabetic care is far more advanced here, he added. He said although prevalence of diabetes is more in urban areas, pre-diabetic patients are found more in rural areas.
South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies president Dr Faruque Pathan said 95-98 per cent of the diabetes patients are Type 2 which means adults. Earlier diabetes was common among the people aged over 60 years, which has now changed to the age range of 30-35 years, he added.
Dr Pathan said many Type 2 patients do not have any symptoms for which they are not aware that they have the disease and when they go to a doctor, they become affected with some kind of complications.
He advised regular checking of diabetes in case of any symptom, control of unhealthy lifestyle and obesity of both children and adults, nutrition of pregnant mothers to avoid diabetes of the fetus in the womb, eating healthy food and doing physical activities. He said 70 per cent diabetes is preventable only by maintaining healthy lifestyle. Males should keep their waist size at 90 centimetre (cm) and females 80 cm.
Novo Nordisk head of marketing Dr Mohammad Saiful revealed that 8,86,000 patients died in 2014 due to NCD. Two-thirds of the diabetic patients live in cities, he added.
Mr Saiful said 50 per cent of treatment cost is due to complications while the cost is only 10-15 per cent. A family can be forced to poverty due to the treatment cost of NCDs.
In Bangladesh, 4-5 per cent of the diabetes patient is children and the detection rate of new case of Type 1 diabetes is 4.2/100,000 children.
Sharing his experience, commercial counselor of the Danish Embassy in Dhaka Soren Robenhagen said he found in a child hospital that child diabetes patients shy for taking insulin at schools. Journalists can help fight this type of taboo, he added. Mr Zahid Malek said pressure is mounting on health sector due to rise in NCDs.
Only 0.8 per cent of GDP is spent for health sector in Bangladesh which is less than India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It should be increased, he demanded.