In the wake of a growing diabetes epidemic in Canada, Diabetes Canada convened a coalition of nearly 120 experts in health care, government, private sector and education from across Canada to develop a response to the urgent situation. Throughout 2018, the group collaborated, resulting in a new 360° approach to preventing, where possible, and managing diabetes in Canada with a goal of turning the tide on the rampant and increasing rate of diabetes in Canada. Today, Diabetes Canada released the report Diabetes 360˚: A Framework for a Diabetes Strategy for Canada, containing the coalition’s detailed recommendations for a much-needed national strategy.
The report’s primary recommendation calls for $150 million in funding over seven years to support the development and implementation of a new national diabetes strategy. The report also recommends taking a new approach to stemming the diabetes epidemic based on the proven model used for HIV/AIDS and other global disease strategies with clearly defined targets and outcomes. Among the benefits the report details are that the program could prevent nearly a million diabetes cases from developing and save more than $9 billion is healthcare costs in the next seven years.
The report comes at a time when diabetes prevalence in Canada is not only skyrocketing, but is already among the worst of OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), according to the International Diabetes Federation. In Canada today, one in three people lives with prediabetes or diabetes – 11 million Canadians. Since 2000, the number of Canadians with diabetes has doubled. A 20 year old in Canada now has a 50 per cent chance of developing the disease and this grows to 80 per cent within some Indigenous populations. Beyond the immeasurable impact on human life, if prevalence grows by 40 per cent in the next decade as projected, the direct costs associated with treating diabetes in Canada will top $39 billion by 2028.
“Without a coordinated, national approach to tackling the diabetes epidemic we’re seeing in many other countries, the toll on human life and our economy will escalate unacceptably,” says Dr. Jan Hux, President, Diabetes Canada. “At present, provinces and territories each work on diabetes in their own way. Given the alarming diabetes trends, we need bold, coordinated action now, more than ever, to bring about necessary change in Canada.”
Dave Prowten, President and CEO of JDRF which is focused on curing and improving the health and quality of life of the over 300,000 Canadians affected by type 1 diabetes agrees that a measurable outcome-focused national strategy is required. “Keeping up with the rising incidence rate requires immediate attention and a new approach,” says Prowten. “Nationally, the average incidence rate of type 1 diabetes has been growing at an estimated 5.1% per year – higher than the global average. While the Government of Canada has supported many chronic disease and diabetes initiatives including investments in innovative research, Canada has been without a national diabetes strategy for nearly six years.”
The proposed new approach and strategic framework to tackling Canada’s diabetes epidemic is based on the model developed in Canada by Julio Montaner to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, and if implemented, can deliver results by focusing on the following key targets:
Diabetes 360˚ Targets:
- 90% of Canadians live in an environment that preserves wellness and prevents the development of diabetes
- 90% of Canadians are aware of their diabetes status
- 90% of Canadians living with or at risk for diabetes are engaged in appropriate interventions to prevent diabetes and its complications
- 90% of Canadians engaged in interventions are achieving improved health outcomes.
”The absence of transformative change has resulted in a patch-work approach to prevention and treatment and great health inequities for people with diabetes across Canada, especially for Indigenous for vulnerable populations including Indigenous communities, seniors and Canadians with lower incomes, which have a much higher prevalence of diabetes and greater challenges accessing supports,” says Marilee Nowgesic at Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association.
Kimberley Hanson, Director, Federal Affairs, Diabetes Canada believes Canada has the expertise to be a global leader in the treatment of diabetes with the right investment of resources. Hanson is leading the Diabetes 360º initiative and authored the report with input from the 120 experts from the broader coalition. To access the full report, Executive Summary, infographics and other related background and resources, please visit: Diabetes 360°.
About Diabetes Canada
Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through:
- Resources for health care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
- Advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and
- Funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure.
For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).
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