21 August 2009
Today’s report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing Australia is now in the top 10 countries with the highest rates of Type 1 diabetes in children is very concerning. About 1,000 Australian children 14 years and younger are developing this type of diabetes each year.
The report also shows a 63% jump in new cases of insulin-treated cases of Type 2 diabetes between 2000 and 2007.
The number of Australians diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled between 1989-1990 and 2004-2005. Diabetes is a significant cause of death and disability in Australia and is increasing in prevalence worldwide.
The growth of diabetes in Australia will undoubtedly increase the pressure on our health system. Today’s AIHW figures further underline the need to reform our health system to ensure it can cope with this growing demand.
The Government currently supports diabetics via Medicare and the PBS and also provides annual funding of more than $126 million to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).
The NDSS provides diabetics with access to a range of subsidised products including:
- subsidised testing strips for checking blood glucose levels
- free insulin syringes and pen-needles and subsidised insulin pump consumables
- information services on managing life with diabetes.
Government expenditure on diabetes products supplied by the NDSS and expenditure on medicines for diabetes through the PBS exceeds $400 million each year.
In addition, the National Health and Medical Research Council has invested more than $57 million in 2008 for diabetes research.
Children and adults with Type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes require insulin replacement in order to survive, and insulin pump therapy can be especially beneficial for young people where their diabetes is difficult to manage.
From 1 November last year, the Rudd Government provided $5.5 million over four years to subsidise insulin pumps and associated consumable products for people under the age of 18 years with type 1 diabetes. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in each state and territory administers the means-tested subsidy, providing up to $2,500 for around 700 eligible young people.
Source: Department of Health and Ageing