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Federal government reveals plan to improve access to diabetes care across Canada


The federal government has drawn up a long-awaited plan in the House of Commons to improve access to diabetes treatment and prevention in Canada, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced Wednesday.

Liberal MP Sonia Sidhu called for the framework as part of a private member bill to become law in 2021.

At the time, Diabetes Canada was calling for some kind of national vision to tackle the spread of the disease.

“The framework means Canada will have a coordinated response to diabetes to improve health outcomes for all,” Sidhu said at a press conference alongside the Health Minister on Wednesday. .

Diabetes prevents the body’s natural production or use of insulin, which in turn regulates blood glucose levels. It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation.

Under the private members bill, the framework should outline the training, education and guidance healthcare workers need to advance the treatment and prevention of diabetes, including new clinical practice guidelines .

The bill says the government will ensure the Canadian Internal Revenue Service administers the disability tax credit fairly and in a way that helps as many people with diabetes as possible.

It will also address research, monitoring and data collection, Sidhu said.

The long-awaited strategy

Diabetes advocates have lamented the lack of federal visibility on the disease for years.

Laura Syron, president of Diabetes Canada, said in an interview on Wednesday: “There’s really a gap between having a book or overall framework, and then[having]gaps in having it. can measure progress against that by providing data.”

A federal strategy was established in 1999 but was later incorporated into a larger strategy to tackle chronic diseases in 2005.

Dr. Jan Hux, president of Diabetes Canada, said in a media statement in 2019: “The longer we delay concerted efforts with targeted outcomes, the greater the odds. Diabetes is on the rise, and more Canadians are experiencing its tragic complications.”

Since then, the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in Canada has increased by 6.5%, according to statistics released by Diabetes Canada – and the annual cost of treating the disease has increased by 30 billion. dollars.

A diabetic patient holds a smartphone with an app that automatically calculates the best insulin mix. (Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images)

There are 5.7 million people with diabetes diagnosed as of March 2022, and another five million experience prediabetes – a condition that, if not managed, can develop into Type 2 diabetes .

“I am a person living with type 2 diabetes, so I can confidently tell you that this framework has the potential to change the lives of millions of people living with diabetes like myself and others. take care of them,” Syron said at the press conference.

The strategy, she said, will serve as a road map for provincial health systems and outline the treatment and prevention of diabetes in Canada.

She says she’s particularly interested in starting a conversation about reducing the stigma surrounding diabetes, which research has shown makes people less likely to take the medication and reduces the risk of diabetes. the patient’s quality of life.

Now that the framework is in place, she said, her organization will begin pushing for the federal government to fund it in the next budget.

The government is also talking to Indigenous groups to tackle diabetes in First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, Duclos said.

“We also know that Indigenous people are diagnosed with diabetes at a younger age and tend to have more severe symptoms and are more difficult to access to appropriate health care, so face a higher risk of complications and poorer treatment outcomes,” says Duclos.

The federal government also funds the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative to address the overwhelming risks Indigenous peoples face from the disease. This initiative aims to provide primary prevention, screening and treatment programs with the help of First Nations and provincial and territorial governments.

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