The recent Nova Scotia budget raises a pivotal question as to how the government plans to support those living with diabetes. While the Department of Health will reportedly have an increased overall budget to invest in new and existing programs and services, no mention of efforts to address the epidemic of diabetes in the province were made.
Approximately 113,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes in Nova Scotia in 2019, representing 11.2 per cent of the province’s population. Over the next decade, Nova Scotia is projected to experience a 21 per cent increase in diabetes prevalence, imposing a serious burden on the publicly funded health-care system and its economy. The cost of diabetes in Nova Scotia is projected to be $107 million in this year alone. Direct costs of diabetes are led by hospitalization, but also include general practitioners, specialists and medications. Indirect costs include loss of economic output from illness or premature death. The impact of diabetes, if it is left untreated, will result in significantly increased rates of heart disease, depression, strokes, nerve damage, skin ulcers, blindness, kidney disease, amputations, and dental conditions in Nova Scotia.
To alleviate cost pressures of diabetes on the provincial health-care system and increase the competitiveness of the province, Diabetes Canada has strongly recommended the Government of Nova Scotia invest in the development of a provincial diabetes strategy. This strategy would aim to reduce the burden of diabetes for the provincial health-care system by slowing the growth in the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes annually, earlier detection and actions for those diagnosed with prediabetes, and increase the positive health measures of those already living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“Today’s budget does not address the reality of health care we are seeing in Nova Scotia" says Lisa Matte, Regional Director for Diabetes Canada. "While access to a primary care provider is a vital part of diabetes management, the government also needs to do more to address the epidemic of diabetes by investing in a comprehensive provincial strategy that focuses on reducing diabetes risk, screening, detection, treatment, and helps people with their self-management."
Diabetes Canada will continue to advocate for a new strategy with the Minister and health officials, and ensure the voice of people living with diabetes are heard in this province.
Author: Sherry Calder
Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy;
Region: Atlantic (PE, NB, NS, NL)
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.