April 8, 2014 7:14 am
Updated: April 8, 2014 9:35 am

What does first-ever Diabetes Charter for Canada mean for Sask.?


Watch above: a new diabetes charter aims at empowering those with diabetes while outlining a standard of care to others

SASKATOON – Fittingly on World Health Day, the Canadian Diabetes Association unveiled a diabetes charter for the country, outlining the rights and responsibilities of those living with diabetes as well as health care providers, school divisions and governments.

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This will be the first of it’s kind, aimed at empowering those with diabetes and their caregivers while outlining a standard of care to others.

It is hoped that over time, the Charter will become the “new” standard for people living with diabetes.

“If you consider Saskatchewan, we have 90,000 people diagnosed with diabetes today and we hear consistently from these people that their care and the services they provide is not consistent across the province.” said Warren Wagner, regional director for Saskatchewan for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

“There is a concern that people need to have a standard of care that would help them achieve the best quality of life they can while they live with their diabetes.”

In Saskatchewan, one in every 13 people has been diagnosed with diabetes at an estimated cost this year to the health care system of $471 million.

Experts also project there are more than 170,000 people in the province with pre-diabetes, which occurs when an individual’s blood glucose levels are elevated. Approximately, 50 per cent of those with pre-diabetes will go on to develop Type 2 diabetes.

“If we have a charter, we have a focus. Those who’s lifestyle may well put them in pre-diabetes danger that they’re able to relate to it and say, this is what’s happening with those with diabetes what steps can I personally take or responsibilities and duties do I have to avoid getting diabetes in the future.” said Peter Dickson, regional chair for northern Saskatchewan with the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Recommendations by the Canadian Diabetes Association for the province include:

  • extending the benefits of the Saskatchewan Children’s Drug Plan for diabetes care to include individuals up to 25 years of age,
  • enhance coverage for insulin pumps by eliminating the age limit for coverage and,
  • developing a “diabetes pathway” so those affiliated receive quicker and better coordinated access to ongoing diabetes education and medical professionals in order to avoid serious complications.

“I had a cousin that had his leg amputated, who was on dialysis, was blind, had kidney failure, all because of diabetes.”

Diagnosed with Type one diabetes ten years ago this month, Paige Orser says she hopes the charter will help those living with diabetes achieve a good quality of life going forward.

“My experience coming from a little rural city, Estevan, Saskatchewan not a lot of the doctors know how to deal with an emergency diabetic so this charter is going to help to give a voice to those and just standards as to what they should how to do and what is required for the diabetics so I’m looking forward to this charter.”

What does the Diabetes Charter for Canada mean for Saskatchewan?:

The Diabetes Charter for Canada (the Charter) clearly outlines the support residents of Saskatchewan with diabetes need to live to their full potential, including quality diabetes care, education, programs and services, medications, devices, supplies and other supports.

Commitments within the Charter address the unique needs of people living with diabetes in the province.

For example:

  • The province has the second highest concentration of Aboriginal people among Canadian jurisdictions.
  • The province also has higher rates of overweight and obesity, and higher prediabetes prevalence than other provinces.
  • These populations all have a higher risk of developing diabetes and serious complications.
  • Saskatchewan has a higher rural population than the national average: Accessing care for people with diabetes is more challenging in rural areas across Canada than in urban areas.
  • Saskatchewan has difficulty in retaining specialists such as endocrinologists who are limited in numbers and upon whom people with diabetes rely.

According to Wagner, he would like to see changes sparked by this initiative as soon as possible and plans to present best practices for treating people with diabetes in Canada to the provincial Minister of Health in the near future.


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