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Health Systems & Reform

For an Article Collection on

Diabetes in Health Systems: Towards More Effective and Equitable Responses

Manuscript deadline
30 August 2024

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Article collection guest advisor(s)

Mr. Abdo S. Yazbeck, Health Systems and Reform, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
[email protected]

Prof. Barbara Isobel McPake, Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne
[email protected]

Mr. Pablo Villalobos Dintrans, Millennium Institute for Care Research (MICARE), Chile
[email protected]

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Diabetes in Health Systems: Towards More Effective and Equitable Responses

Communicable diseases like Covid-19 and Ebola exposed health system failures and captured the world’s attention as pandemics or epidemics.  Type 2 diabetes has caused more suffering and death over the last 50 years than all communicable disease outbreaks combined—and also contributes as a risk factor for several different health problems--, and yet it does not garner as much attention.  In fact, WHO data shows that the number of people with diabetes (overwhelmingly Type 2) have globally quadrupled in 34 years and is growing in every region, and likely in every country.  The focus of the collection of articles is to (i) quantify the implications of the global and uncontrolled nature of growth in type 2 diabetes; (ii) identify the primary causes of this health systems failure; and (iii) to map out solutions from the existing literature as well as innovations in health systems.

The inevitable shift in the demographic and epidemiological transitions the world over requires health systems to adapt to an evolving burden of disease. At the heart of this shift in burden is a major focus on non-communicable disease burden away from communicable disease.  The overwhelming global numbers and growth in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes by WHO and the International Diabetes Federation should raise alarms in every country.  Failure of health systems in adapting to the epidemiological shift and demographic transition means that millions suffer needlessly, die earlier than expected and bankrupt health systems and national budgets along the way.  Type 2 diabetes is one element of metabolic disease which also includes heart disease, strokes and other NCDs that are increasingly the main burden of disease in the world.  Developing a core literature on how health systems currently fail type 2 diabetics, the implications of this global failure, and the documentation of some early successes with innovative approaches should also shed light on how health systems can and should adapt to other NCDs.

If T2DM were a communicable disease then the current global spread and growth would have labelled it as a 50-year old pandemic.  The Article Collection will cover three sub-topics with a preference for papers that can address more than one of the three, including both research articles and policy reports:

  1. Getting an empirical handle of the size and structure of the problem. This can address combinations of prevalence, growth, population distribution, cost, and health systems impact, including equity.
  2. Explaining the systemic causes of the uncontrolled growth and distributional trend. This can cover public health failures or failures in how health systems are organized, financed, or regulated.
  3. Documenting proven successes in health systems of public health actions

Mr. Abdo S. Yazbeck is a Lead Health and Labor Economist with 30 years of work experience in development economics. Through a 22-year career at the World Bank, he managed the Health Team for Europe, managed the Health Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, managed and served as a Program Leader and Lead Trainer for the World Bank Institute.  He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Systems and Reform and faculty at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Currently works as an independent consultant supporting USAID, World Bank, WHO, Global Fund projects, as well as the private sector. His Ph.D. is in Applied Health and Labor Economics. He has authored 7 books and edited 5 Journal Issues.


Professor Barbara McPake joined the Nossal Institute in July 2014 and was Director of the Institute until 2023. Her previous roles were at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (2005-2014), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (1991 – 2005) and University College Swansea (1986-1990). She has a PhD in Health Economics from the University of Wales College of Medicine. Her research focuses on the application of economic theories and methods to the understanding of issues in health system strengthening. Her work has focused on health financing, contracts within public health systems, health workforce, hospital reform and health systems responses to demographic and epidemiological transition.


Mr. Pablo Villalobos Dintrans is a Economist, public policy, and public health researcher and practitioner, Pablo works as a consultant for local and international organizations in areas such as health policy, health financing, health systems, population aging, and long-term care. He is associated researcher at the Millennium Institute for Caregiving Research (MICARE) and the Global Network of Long-Term Care (GNLTC) of the World Health Organization. He is in the editorial board of Health Systems and Reform and the Journal of Long-Term Care. He received his doctoral degree in public health (DrPH) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


Mr. Yazbeck, Prof. McPake, and Mr. Villalobos Dintrans declare no conflict of interest.


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All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo desk assessment and peer-review as part of our standard editorial process. Guest Advisors for this collection will not be involved in peer-reviewing manuscripts unless they are an existing member of the Editorial Board. Please review the journal Aims and Scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.