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Helmsley Charitable Trust Announces $10 Million Grant to World Health Organization to Improve Insulin Access and Advance Global Diabetes Compact

NEW YORK, April 18, 2023 — The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announced today a new $10 million grant to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the advancement of the Global Diabetes Compact and to help countries around the world reach targets for diabetes care and support.

Diabetes affects an estimated 537 million people worldwide. Three in four adults with diabetes live in low- or middle-income countries. For those with type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune condition often diagnosed in children that requires daily, lifelong management of blood glucose levels with insulin, there is a more than 50-year gap in life expectancy between high- and low-income countries, underscoring stark disparities in global access to insulin and diabetes care.

“Where you live should not determine the kind of care you receive, and yet in far too many places it does,” said David Panzirer, Trustee, Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Helmsley is committed to closing this gap for the type 1 diabetes community, which requires a multitude of parallel efforts including initiatives like the Global Diabetes Compact.”

First launched in April 2021, the Global Diabetes Compact is a WHO-led initiative to increase equity in care by implementing and scaling diabetes prevention, diagnosis, and treatment programs across WHO Member States. The new grant will enable WHO to:

  1. Strengthen the Compact’s overall capacity through global leadership and strategic communications, including focused support for the WHO Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Diabetes (TAG-D).
  2. Develop technical guidance — such as coverage monitoring frameworks and provider guidelines on insulin treatment in low-resources settings — to assist Member States in achieving global care targets by 2030.
  3. Pilot a standardized tool to forecast demand for insulin and other essential noncommunicable disease (NCD) health products.

Ultimately, the funding will help WHO strengthen low-resource health systems and scale integrated solutions for a range of NCDs, including diabetes.

“People living with diabetes can lead healthy and long lives if they have access to essential care and medications. Yet far too many people face barriers in receiving this critical support,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “That is why WHO, stakeholders, and governments around the world joined together in the Global Diabetes Compact to improve preventative services and access to affordable and quality care.”

The new grant builds on Helmsley’s longstanding commitment to improving the lives of people with T1D no matter where they call home. Since 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $1 billion to understanding T1D, developing better treatments, and improving access to care everywhere.

“Launching the Global Diabetes Compact was a critical step in highlighting the issue of diabetes and bringing global partners together under a single framework,” said Gina Agiostratidou, Type 1 Diabetes Program Director, Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Now, we must continue that momentum if we expect Member States to achieve global care targets and finally realize a world where everyone with diabetes can thrive. We look forward to building that future with WHO.”

On May 24, The Helmsley Charitable Trust will host “Advancing Equity: Global Action for People Living with Diabetes” at the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva. This event will gather representatives from WHO, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Santé Diabète, the NCDI Poverty Network, and other partners for a focused discussion on addressing the needs of people living with diabetes.

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $4 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. The Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Program is the largest private foundation funder in the world with a focus on T1D, with more than $1 billion to date committed to transform the trajectory of the disease and to accelerate access to 21st century care, everywhere. For more information on Helmsley and its programs, visit helmsleytrust.org.


Carey Meyers, Communications Director, +1 347 409 3588, cmeyers@helmsleytrust.org

About The World Health Organization

Dedicated to the well-being of all people and guided by science, the World Health Organization leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the UN agency for health that connects nations, partners and people on the front lines in 150+ locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, addressing the root causes of health issues and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. www.who.int


Jin Ni, Communications Officer, +41 (0)79 791 9098, jinn@who.int