Diabetics' preventable problems and the billion dollar cost

By Stefan Dimitrof

Diabetes NZ is urging individuals with diabetes and their supporters throughout the country to flood Facebook and Instagram with photographs and posts detailing their diabetes stories next Tuesday, March 15.

Since early February, the organisation has contacted more than 50,000 people, many of whom have pledged to support the campaign.

Diabetes New Zealand is requesting that the government support continuous glucose monitoring (CGMs) and flash glucose monitors (FGM). These devices have a huge impact on the life of everyone who is insulin-dependent, including more than 25,000 children and adults with type 1 diabetes and many more with type 2.

CGM technology helps diabetics to monitor their blood glucose levels to maintain optimal blood glucose levels and avoid hospitalisation.

Keeping complications at bay

Diabetes NZ began the campaign with a petition in 2019; the petition was heard by the health select committee last year, and the decision is now in the hands of Pharmac.

Diabetes NZ chief executive Heather Very says: “This equipment shouldn’t be treated as a luxury. The technology to live a normal, healthy life is there but Kiwis aren’t given access to it.”

Glucose monitoring is a constant battle for 28,000 New Zealanders with type 1 diabetes and many more with type 2. Very says their lives would be made infinitely easier if they had access to current diabetic technology.

Diabetes costs $2.1 billion (0.67 per cent of GDP) each year in New Zealand and is expected to rise by 63 per cent to $3.5 billion in 20 years. The majority of these expenses are incurred as a result of diabetic complications. Investing in glucose monitors, which can help manage diabetes before issues arise and cut the expense of treatments down the road.

All New Zealanders are being encouraged to sign Diabetes NZ's petition for funding, to follow the campaign on social media and use the hashtags #CGMforall and #FGMforall to join the effort.