Yesterday, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci tabled the provincial budget without mention of much-needed diabetes supports or enhancements that will take steps to improve the lives of Albertans living with diabetes or prediabetes.
“This news is disappointing as we have been urging the government to take action by investing in evidence-based measures that will keep Albertans with diabetes healthy and reduce risk of costly and serious complications,” says Scott McRae, regional director with Diabetes Canada.
A key priority is increasing the public funding of self-monitoring of blood glucose test strips beyond what is currently available for Albertans living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Canada believes that self-monitoring of blood glucose is an essential tool in the treatment and management of diabetes and helps to prevent short-tem problems and prevent or delay the longer-term complications of diabetes, including heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
“Appropriate frequency of checking blood sugar levels has been associated with improved health outcomes for people with diabetes and helping to manage costs in the healthcare system, such as decreased hospitalizations,” states McRae. “Not investing in diabetes care will only put pressure on our emergency rooms and hospitals caring for people with costly complications of diabetes.”
Diabetes Canada also recommends the Alberta government develop a standard of care for children living with type 1 diabetes in school. “We are left to our own devices and struggle to find the in-school supports our children need,” says Deanna Emberg, Alberta mom of a young student with type 1 diabetes. “Without appropriate support, our children are at risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels which jeopardize their safety, long-term health and academic performance.”
Diabetes Canada believes that students living with diabetes have the right to be full and equal participants in school and all school-related activities without the fear of being excluded, stigmatized, or discriminated against. “Many provinces have adopted standards that are in line with our Guidelines for the Care of Students Living with Diabetes at School, but Alberta lags behind, says McRae.
Diabetes Canada plans to address the noted lack of support in this recent budget and will continue to advocate to elected officials so that Albertans can make progress that will influence healthier communities and inspire broader policy improvements.