Diabetes Canada advocating for public funding for these life-saving devices
For Canadians living with diabetes, it’s tough enough to manage their condition without dealing with insufficient public funding for advanced glucose monitors that could save lives and reduce overall health-care costs.
That’s why Diabetes Canada is advocating for affordable access to flash and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices across Canada in support of its Diabetes 360° recommendation that every Canadian with diabetes has access to the medications, devices and supplies they need to protect their health.
Canada has no formal national strategy to address diabetes – one of the most significant health-care crises of our time – according to Diabetes Canada.
This lack of dedicated support or action to tackle the diabetes epidemic means that every 24 hours, more than 20 Canadians die of diabetes-related complications, 14 have a lower limb amputation, 480 more are diagnosed with the disease and the health-care system spends $75-million treating patients with the disease.
Funding for CGM and flash glucose monitoring devices is inconsistent across provinces and territories and inadequate overall, says Diabetes Canada. Ontario and Quebec provide some funding, and Yukon recently implemented unprecedented levels of coverage. While some private plans cover the devices, most public plans do not, and people with diabetes who can benefit from the technology must pay for their device personally, a cost that can range from $3,000 to $6,000 a year, which many people cannot afford.
Ontarian Karen Kemp has been using a CGM system off and on for the past 11 years.
“It wasn’t always affordable – at times I would wear it only intermittently. When not wearing it, I would need to set my alarm to wake me during the night to check my blood glucose level,” she says, otherwise she does not wake up on her own to treat lows, which can be life-threatening.
Ms. Kemp says it is essential for her to wear a CGM because she experiences hypoglycemic unawareness, a complication of diabetes in which a person is unaware of a deep drop in blood sugar.
It wasn’t always affordable – at times I would wear it only intermittently. When not wearing it, I would need to set my alarm to wake me during the night to check my blood glucose level.— Karen Kemp, has used a continuous glucose monitoring device for 11 years
“The CGM has saved me from going into a diabetic coma during my sleep on several occasions,” she adds.
Eleven-year-old Lilly Anna LeClercq of Alberta has been using a CGM system for the past year.
“Before I got the CGM, I felt like a pin cushion,” she says. “I was poking anywhere from 8 to 12 times in a day. My fingers were full of calluses and were too sore to hold a pencil at school. Now with the CGM, I poke in the morning and at bedtime to calibrate.”
Diabetes Canada recommends provincial and territorial governments provide public coverage for flash and CGM devices and give people who will benefit the opportunity to live safer, longer lives.
Support Diabetes Canada’s advocacy and education efforts. Take action here: diabetesstrategynow.ca/glucose-monitoring
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