Accessibility to diabetes care on SN

World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.

WDD is marked every year on Nov. 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922. Every year, the WDD campaign focuses on a dedicated theme that runs for one or more years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021 to 2023 is Access to Diabetes Care.

“Canada’s Indigenous populations continuously demonstrate great strength and resilience. However, these communities face greater health challenges than most, including an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” says “This is a result of several overlapping and compounded factors, including Canada’s historic and continued colonial policies, such as residential schools, Indian hospitals, and the sixties scoop; lack of access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable food; and a strong genetic risk for type 2 diabetes.”

These factors have undermined Indigenous values, culture, and spiritual practices, while creating lasting physical, mental, emotional, and social harms for these communities. Here’s a snapshot of the age-standardized prevalence rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

“In Canada, age-standardized prevalence rates for diabetes are 17.2 per cent among First Nations individuals living on-reserve, 10.3 per cent among First Nations individuals living off-reserve, and 7.3 per cent among Métis people, compared to 5 per cent in the general population,” said the Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee.

There are several organizations on Six Nations that offer services for diabetes patients on the territory.

The Diabetes Wellness Program offered by Six Nations Health Services provides primary care treatment to those living with diabetes as well as creates awareness, programming and provides education on diabetes and its associated risks.

The Diabetes Wellness Program team is comprised of a registered nurse, registered dietitian, social worker, chiropodist, foot care nurse, and administrative assistant.

The program offers education and support in terms of support groups, education sessions, and community presentations. And wellness activities such as physical activities and cooking classes.

The program offers foot care which is comprised of foot care education, diabetic footsore provided by nursing or chiropody, leg and feet examinations, and foot assessments including, circulation, sensation, and edema (swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues).

Treatment options include, insulin injections, non-insulin injections, oral hypoglycaemic agents, lifestyle management, and diabetes risk assessments. If interested in learning more about the intake or referral process call 519-445-2226.

Here are some other ways you can support the WDD initiative.

Support the call to action to policymakers: Send a letter to your national health minister or Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva asking them to dedicate sufficient human and financial resources to diabetes education to help achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) diabetes coverage targets by 2030.

Promote the blue circle: The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness and the logo of WDD. There are many ways you can help promote the global symbol of diabetes awareness:

– Wear blue for diabetes.
– Wear the blue circle pin or bracelet (available to buy at
– Persuade a Member of Parliament, celebrity, or high-profile individual in your community to wear the blue circle pin. Don’t forget to get a picture.
– Promote the blue circle selfie app.
– Include the blue circle in all of your correspondence and promotional materials.
– Use the blue circle as your profile picture on Facebook.

Survey on access to diabetes education: To mark World Diabetes Day 2022 the International Diabetes Federation has launched a global survey to explore the levels of access that healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes have to diabetes education.

“If you are a healthcare professional or a person living with diabetes, we invite you to spare 10 minutes of your time to complete the survey. Your answers will help us inform World Diabetes Day 2022 activities and highlight the importance of accessible and quality diabetes education to protect tomorrow,” states the website, where the survey can be found.

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