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Diabetes Technology Should Be Available For All Children, Says Paediatric Society

The Paediatric Society of New Zealand is calling for improved access to diabetes technology for all children with diabetes as part of World Diabetes Day today.

Until the discovery of insulin in 1921, diabetes was considered a death sentence. A hundred years on it is still giving life to millions of people who otherwise would never have had the chance.

However, not all children and young people are able to access the diabetes technology aids available to them, says Otago University’s Dr Martin de Bock.

“There’s a variety of devices available to deliver insulin such as insulin pens and pumps, and devices to monitor blood glucose levels but not everyone is able to access them.

“Testing your blood glucose is a crucial, but sometimes unpleasant part of the daily diabetes routine, especially for young children. But it’s crucial to make decisions about what you eat, how much you exercise, and to gauge insulin dosing levels.

“Continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM, helps you avoid pricking your finger. It measures your blood glucose every few minutes via a tiny sensor inserted under the skin of your belly or arm, and sends the results wirelessly to a pump, smartphone, or other device.

“However, this life changing technology, is not funded in New Zealand, while it is in Australia. Because CGMs aren't funded, many New Zealanders, including children, living with diabetes will never experience the life-changing, life-saving benefits – and that needs to change. Without funding we will continue to see health inequity with those unable to afford CGM setting a course for complications of diabetes.”

This technology has been shown to improve health outcomes, and reduce the burden of diabetes, says Dr de Bock. “For the thousands of children and young people living with Type 1 diabetes more needs to be done to enable equitable and fair access to the technology that will enable them to have a better quality of life.”

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