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Union Assurance, Sri Lanka’s premier Life Insurer, has entered into a strategic partnership with the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka (DASL) to address the alarming prevalence and incidence of diabetes in the country. According to the International Diabetes Federation, Sri Lanka faces a notably high diabetes prevalence, placing it at heightened risk within the South Asian region. Understanding the gravity of this national health crisis, Union Assurance has committed to providing extensive nationwide support to prevent diabetes by increasing public awareness, providing tools and platforms to improve individual well-being, and fostering community engagement.

Partnering with the DASL, Union Assurance will implement targeted evidence-based preventive strategies to achieve sustainable solutions, aiming to reduce diabetes incidence rates and enrich the well-being of all Sri Lankans. The DASL has been a member of the International Diabetes Federation based in Brussels for several decades and is an NGO registered in the Parliament by Act 1 1992. The DASL is headquartered at the National Diabetes Centre, Rajagiriya. It provides clinical and preventive services with its accredited laboratory facilities, supports economically challenged youth living with type 1 diabetes, conducts research, and promotes advocacy to reduce the prevalence and incidence of prediabetes and diabetes.

In accordance with the STEPS Survey conducted in 2021, the percentage of Impaired Fasting Glycaemia (IGT) in adults aged 18-69 years was 13% (both sexes), while the percentage with raised Fasting Blood Glucose (FBS) in the same age group was 14.6% (in both sexes). Moreover, when comparing the results of STEPS surveys conducted in 2015 and 2021, the percentage of IGT had increased from 3.8% to 13.0%, while the percentage of people with raised FBS or who are currently on medication for high blood glucose levels had also risen from 7.4% to 14.6%. Empowering the public at all stages and ages is vital to protect them from this silent killer, as the age of onset is rapidly decreasing. The increase in prevalence can be mainly attributed to modern lifestyles, which are sedentary, devoid of exercise, with increased stress which leads to obesity and diabetes. General morbidity rates have also increased with related complications such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

Senath Jayatilake, Chief Executive Officer at Union Assurance, emphasised the significance of the partnership, stating, “We are proud to collaborate with the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka, an organisation whose values strongly align with our own. At Union Assurance, we are driven by the purpose of enriching the well-being of all Sri Lankans. We believe that, by taking proactive action to improve individual well-being, we will be able to contribute to the collective progress of our nation. In line with this focus and recognising the pervasive challenges many face with the disease, our collaboration with the DASL allows us to deliver comprehensive solutions to support the public. Our commitment is long-term, aimed at fostering lasting improvements in public health and well-being across Sri Lanka.”

Dr. Mahen Wijesuriya, Honorary Director and Secretary of the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka, expressed great enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “We are honoured to partner with Union Assurance in this venture to prevent diabetes and commend their proactive efforts to enhance every citizen’s well-being. Diabetes has NO CURE. Together, DASL and Union Assurance can combine resources and are confident that effective and sustainable measures can be used to empower our people through increased education, awareness and screening as prediabetes can be reversed only by healthy lifestyles.”

Union Assurance is a subsidiary of John Keells Holdings PLC, the largest conglomerate listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, operating with over 70 companies in 7 diverse industry sectors. The Company has completed over three decades of success with a Market Capitalisation of Rs. 23.7 Bn, and a Life Fund of Rs. 64.1 Bn as of end December 2023. Set to protect lives and enrich the well-being of all Sri Lankans, Union Assurance offers Life Insurance solutions that cover the health, investment, protection, retirement, and education needs of Sri Lankans. With an island-wide branch network and a workforce that is over 3800-strong, Union Assurance continues to invest in people, products, and processes with a customer-centric focus to be responsive to emerging changes in the Life Insurance industry.