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In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month, Dynacare and Diabetes Canada are bringing back #Dynacare4Diabetes, Manitoba’s largest-ever diabetes wellness initiative. Dynacare is offering free A1C tests at all of their Manitoba locations and, from now until November 30, will be making a 50-cent donation to Diabetes Canada in Manitoba for every test taken, up to a total of $25,000. The campaign is intended to make it easier for Manitobans to understand their risk for this all-too-common disease and to get on a pathway to care.

Frances Chartrand, Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) Minister of Health & Early Learning Child Care – one very important supporter of the initiative – spoke to us about why this cause is particularly important not only to her, but also to her community.

What was the largest motivating factor in your decision to support this diabetes wellness initiative?

My mother, sister and brother all had diabetes, and the associated complications were a major factor in their early deaths.

Diabetes is also prevalent in the Métis community as a whole. Métis-specific research that we conducted and published in the report ”Diabetes and Related Health Care in the Metis Population” clearly demonstrated that even after taking into account factors such as age and income, Métis are at a greater risk of developing diabetes compared to all other Manitobans. This in turn impacts Métis citizens’ mental health and use of health services as well.

Could you talk about how you or MMF is involved in the campaign?

At our Annual General Assembly in October, we offered risk assessments as well as blood glucose (sugar) and A1C testing to the approximately 3,000 Métis citizens who attended. Our goal was to ensure that our citizens are aware that type 2 diabetes can be prevented and to educate them about the importance of early intervention. 

[With Dynacare and Diabetes Canada] we are also hosting A1C testing for the campaign in two regions – Dauphin and Brandon – to help ensure that our citizens receive diabetes education in their communities.

Why is the cause of diabetes awareness so important to you, and why should it be so important to Manitobans?

It’s important on a personal level, but it’s also important to me as a Métis citizen and the Minister of Health. Diabetes education is the foundation of management, as diabetes requires day-to-day knowledge of nutrition, exercise, monitoring and medication.

What would you like to see more of in terms of diabetes awareness in Manitoba?

I would like to see more information provided at the local level, including in Métis communities and schools. Education should be presented in a culturally competent, relevant manner to achieve the greatest impact.

What advice would you give to anyone who may be concerned that they or a family member are at an increased risk for diabetes? 

Complete a diabetes risk assessment [with Dynacare] and get tested, educate yourself and recognize that education is an ongoing process. Lifestyle changes will be required, including a healthy diet and exercise, but it will be well worth the effort.  It could save your life or the life of a loved one.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the sponsor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Diabetes Canada.

Author: Andrew Munday

Category Tags: Healthy Living;

Region: Manitoba/Nunavut