By Patrick Tohill, JDRF National Director of Government Relations
For the second time in two weeks, I find myself in Ottawa. Last week was for Kids for a Cure, JDRF’s signature lobbying event. This week, I’m here with JDRF President and CEO Dave Prowten and a number of diabetes organizations to support the Diabetes 360⁰ initiative.
What is Diabetes 360⁰?
The Diabetes 360⁰ initiative was conceived by Diabetes Canada and developed in collaboration with 120 experts. It is supported by every major diabetes organization in Canada (type 1 and type 2), including JDRF. It is a framework for a pan-Canadian diabetes strategy aimed at drastically reducing and eventually ending diabetes based on four simple but ambitious targets:
- 90% of Canadians live in an environment that prevents the development of diabetes
- 90% of Canadians are aware of their diabetes status
- 90% of Canadians living with prediabetes or diabetes are engaged in appropriate interventions to prevent diabetes and its complications
- 90% of Canadians engaged in interventions are achieving improved health outcomes
With the incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) increasing faster in Canada than in many other developed countries (effectively doubling every 20 years), it’s clear that we need to do everything we can to improve prevention strategies. For T1D, prevention means an increased investment in autoimmunity research to understand and prevent the response that triggers the body’s destruction of its insulin-producing cells.
Delayed diagnosis of T1D is a leading factor in incidence of life-threatening but avoidable diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in both children and adults with an estimated 5-10K Canadians hospitalized annually due to DKA. An alarming number are infants in toddlers. Nearly 4 in 10 children under age 3 present with DKA at the time of first diagnosis. Of these, 38% had visited a physician within the previous week. Interventions are needed to help Health Care Providers diagnose T1D earlier, including increased use of finger-prick blood glucose testing in clinical settings and testing of family members of those with T1D.
Appropriate interventions for T1D aimed at reducing complications include those promoting adherence to recommended treatment guidelines (eye and foot checks, for example) as well as those that increase access to beneficial diabetes technologies such as insulin pumps, flash glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring and hybrid-closed loop systems.
Improving outcomes with respect to T1D means moving beyond HbA1C to look at other metrics such as time spent in target range, and reduced incidences of hypo- and hyperglycemia.
For this reason, JDRF Canada has made support for Diabetes 360⁰ one of our five key recommendations in our 2019 Pre-Budget Submission, and why we are actively participating in both the advisory group and the T1D working group. And that’s why we are here in Ottawa once again this week advocating on your behalf – to convince policymakers of the need to fund this initiative.