Health organizations

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Delivering the message through effective advocacy

Diabetes is spreading across the world at an epidemic rate. Since making a decision to increase its attention to advocacy in 1994, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has led numerous successful advocacy efforts. Providing information to policy makers is crucial. Nevertheless, even with the economic facts in hand, it remains important to use them in such a way that will bring about governmental action to support research and programmes aimed at conquering diabetes.

Getting governements to listen to economic facts

Over £5.2 billion a year – 9 percent of the entire National Health Service budget – is spent on diabetes and its complications in the UK. There is no doubt that diabetes is a significant health economic issue here, as it is elsewhere in the world. Although diabetes is not consistently high on the government’s priority list, Diabetes UK has been successful in forming a strong lobby, which is increasing in political weight.

Diabetes efforts with limited resources in Tanzania

The Tanzania Diabetes Association, established in 1985, is playing a crucial role in providing people in this extremely impoverished country with essential diabetes care. What, at the outset, may have seemed nearly impossible through a lack of funds, has, nevertheless, come into being through a well organized strategy and clear objectives.

Complementing the medical team

The ‘Fundación Diabetes Juvenil de Chile’, the Chilean Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, a non-profit institution, was founded in 1988 by a group of parents of children with diabetes. The principal objective of the institution is to help all people using insulin by teaching modern techniques, observing treatment and promoting self-monitoring. The Foundation provides additional support to the medical team responsible for treating people with diabetes. This generally refers to the area of education.

Preventing blindness online

Individuals with diabetes are 25 to 30 times more likely to lose their sight from diabetic eye damage (retinopathy), cataracts or glaucoma. The US National Eye Institute reports that almost half of the 16 million people with diabetes in America have at least early signs of diabetic retinopathy. Nearly 700,000 people have serious retinal disease, and as many as 25,000 people go blind from diabetic retinopathy. In light of these statistics, Prevent Blindness America (PBA), the oldest volunteer eye health organization in the United States, has launched a new website, www.diabetes-sight.org.

Expensive new drugs: NICE or not so nice?

Around the world, healthcare services face increasing demands from aging populations, with high disease burdens and expensive new ways of managing them. Many new drugs and other health technologies cost considerably more than those they supplant, but may only give a proportionately small health gain. As a result individuals, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations and national health services are forced to take decisions on which new therapies can be afforded for whom.

Poverty, stress and unmet needs: life with diabetes in the Gaza Strip

The political and social situation in the Gaza Strip remains tense, with considerable disruption of normal economic and social activity. Such an environment is rarely conducive to the delivery of continuing medical care. In this article Panagiotis Tsapogas, Medical Co-ordinator of the Greek section of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Gaza, 2002-2003, reports on the difficulties faced by Palestinian people with diabetes in Gaza, and makes a call for the provision of improved diabetes care.

Helping people with diabetes: a rewarding task for the PUMCH Diabetes Education Centre in China

Diabetes has ‘arrived’ in China. This condition was relatively rare among the Chinese population until 20 years ago. As life has become more and more westernized and industrial, the prevalence of diabetes has increased rapidly. The average prevalence rate has increased from just under 1 percent in 1980 to as high as nearly 7 percent in some areas in 1996. Chinese health resources are struggling to keep up with this explosion. However, the Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) have an education programme which is producing positive outcomes.

Becoming experts

Increasing the knowledge of people with diabetes gives them motivation and promotes better diabetes control. This, in turn, enhances quality of life and delays, if not totally prevents, the onset of complications. The Danish Diabetes Education Centre, opened in Odense, 1993, does just that, by providing teaching and assistance to people with diabetes and their friends and families. The centre educates over 500 people in total each year.

Slovenian St Vincent Declaration Board urges increased government action

Although diabetes is not included in the national ‘Health for All’ legislation, a new government, elected a year ago, brings with it the promise of a better future for people with diabetes in Slovenia. The new Minister of Health has displayed an interest in prevention policies concerning chronic diseases, as well as in promoting healthy lifestyle. The Slovenian Diabetes Association (SLODA) has taken some initial steps towards a closer co-operation with the new government.

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