On Sunday Diabetes Australia  launched its National Diabetes Week campaign in Melbourne, location of the upcoming World Diabetes Congress. The Face of Diabetes in Australia  campaign was launched at the city's Yarra Gallery in Federation Square. The campaign aims to raise awareness of all types of diabetes and emphasises the human face of the disease.
Elizabeth Miller, local politician and State Member for Bentleigh, Victoria, used the launch to highlight the impact of the disease on the Victorian Community.
Ms Miller, on behalf of Minister for Health David Davis, said that the prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled over recent decades.
“Nearly 5 per cent of the Victorian population now has diabetes, which is around 270,000 Victorians aged 18-75,” Ms Miller said.
“To add to this, diabetes is predicted to become the leading burden of disease in Australia by 2017.”
Director Emeritus at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Professor Paul Zimmet, said diabetes is one of the most challenging health issues of our time.
“Diabetes is a very serious disease. It can result in debilitating complications including heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure, stroke and limb amputations,” Professor Zimmet said.
“Despite the significant progress that we’ve made in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease here in Australia, there is still a lot that needs to be done in this field.”
In December this year, Melbourne will host the World Diabetes Congress which will be one of the biggest medical conferences that Australia has ever seen.
Ms Miller said the Victoria State Government is very proud to be supporting this internationally significant event so that it can be hosted in Melbourne.
“The Congress is supported by the State Government through Healthy Together Victoria, a state-wide health effort to prevent diabetes and obesity by encouraging all Victorians to put good health at the centre of their everyday lives,” Ms Miller said.
“Victoria is the perfect location for the Congress. The State is home to several world-leading scientific institutions and our researchers are making a major contribution to efforts globally to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.”
“For the first time in the history of the Congress, people who are affected by diabetes and their carers who are members of Diabetes Australia in their state, are invited to come along to the Congress to hear about the latest research and treatments for the disease.
There will also be a focus on the Congress on Living with Diabetes, where people who are affected by the disease will share their personal stories with the Congress,” Ms Miller said.
The World Diabetes Congress is expected to bring around 12,000 researchers, advocates, heath professionals and policy makers to Victoria and will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 2-6 December 2013.
The full press release is available here