Diabetes Canada welcomes the latest report from Ontario’s Auditor General, which includes a focus on chronic disease prevention, and encourages the Government of Ontario to build on the recommendations to ensure that any strategy not only includes effective primary prevention, but also addresses the management and complications of each particular disease, including diabetes.
“We’ve been urging the Ontario Government to introduce a renewed diabetes strategy that sets aggressive targets to stem the tide of the diabetes epidemic and to improve health outcomes for people with diabetes,” says Amanda Thambirajah, director of government relations for Diabetes Canada in Ontario. “The Auditor General’s report supports our recommendation by calling for an overarching chronic disease prevention strategy. However, it’s also important that any chronic disease strategy goes beyond primary prevention to help those living with the disease.”
Diabetes Canada has been advocating for a diabetes strategy that sets aggressive, measurable targets to address prevention, as well as screening and awareness, glucose control and secondary prevention of complications, such as heart and kidney disease. This strategy would ideally fit within an overarching chronic disease framework that would coordinate prevention initiatives, while also recognizing that although people may live with one or more chronic disease, each disease has particular manifestations and implications for health and lifestyle. A patient-centred, diabetes-specific approach is required to address the needs that are unique to this condition.
“The Auditor General’s report also points out that public health units must be supported to evaluate the effectiveness of their prevention and health promotion programs,” says Thambirajah. “We look forward to partnering with the government and providing the patient’s perspective into a proposed plan to tackle diabetes in this province.”
In Ontario, 1 in 3 people have diabetes or prediabetes. In 2017, about 4.7 million Ontarians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. Over the next 10 years, diabetes rates in Ontario are projected to increase by 44%. The direct cost of diabetes to the provincial heath care system is approximately $1.5 billion annually. By 2027, direct costs are estimated to be as high as $2.2 billion a year, an unsustainable amount. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease, and lower-limb amputation. Depression is also more common among people with diabetes than in the general population. There is an urgent need to address these health issues that impact so many people, families and communities.
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