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New Initiatives For Diabetes Care and Management

MEDIA RELEASE, April 7, 2000

New Initiatives For Diabetes Care and Management

Health Minister Annette King said today she was delighted $5 million more has been allocated from this financial year to the care and management of people with diabetes.

Opening the Diabetes New Zealand annual conference in Christchurch this afternoon, Mrs King said the Health Funding Authority has allocated the $5 million specifically for new diabetes initiatives.

Some of the money would be used to provide free annual health checks for people diagnosed with diabetes as well as providing increased access to comprehensive diabetes services including eye screening, she said.

The money will also aid development of a comprehensive nation-wide programme that will promote earlier detection and provide more comprehensive support for people with diabetes.

"Diabetes is an issue my government takes seriously and as such we have
identified diabetes as a priority area. We are encouraged by the work of
Diabetes New Zealand that this is a health problem we can control." Mrs King
said.

There are about 115,000 people with known diabetes in New Zealand including 25,000 Maori and 8,000 Pacific people.

"Experience in New Zealand and internationally indicated that one of the best
was to deal with diabetes is to use projects that are based within communities. The most successful of these community based projects involve multiple interventions with comprehensive follow-up care and a long term commitment," Mrs King said.

"By involving primary health care providers in this nation-wide diabetes
programme people with diabetes will get improved and earlier diagnosis, with
easier access to advice and support for their diabetes."

"To this end the Ministry of Health and the HFA have been working towards
improvements in diabetes prevention and management and both agree that the reach and depth of current diabetes programme must be extended.

"Diabetes management involves so much more than just simply testing for the disease. It involves a multi-disciplinary team including nurse educators,
dieticians, podiatrists, general practitioners, Maori and Pacific providers and
others in helping to empower people to manage control their diabetes."

Mrs King said the HFA had plans to set up three community based diabetes pilot programmes, "with community diabetes practitioners being the key to improved diabetes prevention and care.

"Initial indications are that we will be able to effectively manage the diabetes
and enable health gains for those at high risk of developing diabetes and
associated health problems."

ENDS

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