April 11, 2018
Yesterday, Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer tabled the provincial budget without addressing needed resources for the 308,000 people currently living with diabetes and prediabetes in the province. To address the escalating burden of diabetes in Saskatchewan, Diabetes Canada urged the government to implement a number of recommendations as measures to reduce the individual and societal costs of diabetes in the province.
“This news is concerning as we have been talking to the government about the increasing cost associated with the growing prevalence of diabetes in Saskatchewan,” says Brie Hnetka, regional director with Diabetes Canada. The increasing rate of diabetes and its complications, including heart attacks, strokes, blindness, amputation and kidney failure, poses a serious burden on the quality of life of people in Saskatchewan and is estimated to cost the province $98 million in 2018.
Our recommendations to the government include establishing a Provincial Diabetes Pathway to help people with diabetes access timely and appropriate services, as well as removing the age restriction applied to the provincial insulin pump program and increasing availability of needed diabetes drugs on the provincial formulary.
“Proper diabetes management is vital to improve the quality of life for those living with diabetes and decrease the likelihood of having to undergo future medical interventions due to complications,” says Hnetka. “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 Saskatchewan 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 Melissa Johnson, Saskatchewan mom of two school-aged children 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 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 Saskatchewan lags behind, says Hnetka.
With the Government of Saskatchewan’s increased investment in education in 2018, Diabetes Canada recommends enhanced investment in classroom supports for students. Classroom assistants can be trained to provide individual support to students with type 1 diabetes who are unable to independently self-manage their diabetes.
Diabetes Canada intends to address the noted lack of support in the 2018 budget and will continue to advocate to elected officials so that Saskatchewan can make progress that will influence healthier communities and inspire broader policy improvements.
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).
For more information or to book an interview:
Regional Director, Diabetes Canada
Author: Brie Hnetka