Thursday, November 15, 2007




For the first time ever, British Columbia has declared Nov. 14 World Diabetes Day to help people be more informed about how to prevent diabetes and manage the disease, Health Minister George Abbott said today.

“Government is involved in many different programs and initiatives to help address the health needs of chronically ill people, such as those living with diabetes,” said Abbott. “As our population ages, we know we are moving in the right direction as we work towards a more planned integrated approach to delivering health care.”

The Province is supporting the United Nations General Assembly, which has designated Nov. 14 as World Diabetes Day, in order to raise public awareness of diabetes and its related complications. This builds on the already established declaration in British Columbia of November as Diabetes Awareness Month.

“The Province is pleased to support the United Nations in declaring this World Diabetes Day,” said John Nuraney, MLA for Burnaby-Willingdon, who made the proclamation at an event for Juvenile Diabetes. “As the first year of recognizing this important day and as we look towards the future and the health of our youth, it is most fitting that this year’s theme be Diabetes in Children and Adolescents.”

Chronic conditions now affect approximately one in three British Columbians. The prevalence of diabetes in the general population has grown from one in 22 people in 1997/98 to one in 14 people in 2005/06. However, over the same period, mortality rates for people with diabetes have decreased by three times compared to patients who do not have diabetes, meaning that people with diabetes are living longer.

“Diabetes is a serious health problem and that’s why the prevention and management of diabetes is a high priority for government,” said Gordon Hogg, Minister of State for Act Now BC. “Through ActNow BC, we encourage all British Columbians to be aware that this disease can often be prevented through leading a healthier lifestyle.”

Government has implemented a number of high-impact, system–wide initiatives such as the Primary Health Charter that will help patients with a planned approach to health care with measurable health outcomes. These include:

· Approximately 3,000 doctors now receive incentive payments to improve the quality of care for patients with chronic conditions including diabetes.

· Patient self-management support – over 1,500 patients have now been trained as leaders and have graduated from patient self management training.

· With the majority of family physicians now involved in providing guideline-based care for patients with a variety of chronic conditions including diabetes – health outcomes such as reductions in hospitalizations, lower limb amputations and renal failure are starting to be realized.

· Renewing health system delivery through initiatives such as the $31 million investment through the Health Innovation Fund into Integrated Health Networks is responding to British Columbians’ input with regard to coordination of services. Forty-nine networks are currently under development. An integrated health network is a set of resources formally linked around the partnership of complex, high-need patients, their family doctors and their practice teams.

· Clinical information systems such as the chronic disease management toolkit, which helps clinicians improve the quality of chronic care, as well as significant investments in technology through the eHealth program. Currently, around 1,000 physicians are using this tool. Nurse practitioners and nurses have recently received permission to also become users of this patient management system.

· Partnering with many community organizations including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Healthy Heart Society and the Canadian Diabetes Association to support and meet patients’ needs.

“The Canadian Diabetes Association would like to thank the government of British Columbia for supporting World Diabetes Day. Raising awareness about diabetes has become increasingly important as the numbers of those being diagnosed continues to rise dramatically”, said Jean Blake, executive director of the Canadian Diabetes Association, Pacific Area. “For over 250,000 people in our province currently living with diabetes and the many thousands more that are at risk, the government’s priority on diabetes prevention and management is very welcome.”

ActNow BC is a health promotion platform and works together with government ministries, the health sector and health partners to deliver programs and services designated to encourage healthy choices for all British Columbians.


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