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DAWN Youth in Europe - international principles, national actions

While diabetes healthcare professionals quite rightly offer a combination of treatment, information and instructions, the time has come for another dimension to be added to diabetes care practices: attention to psychological and social challenges facing people with the condition and their families. DAWN Youth initiatives are being implemented in many countries worldwide in order to improve various aspects of psychosocial support, and draw attention to some fundamental shortcomings in current healthcare systems.

Peer support and positive results in Germany - repeating success at my Camp D

Recently, for the second time in 2 years, several hundred young people with diabetes were brought together with diabetes educators, diabetologists and employees of Novo Nordisk, in Bad Segeberg, Germany, to attend a diabetes camp that combined education and leisure pursuits with a strong emphasis on peer support. The 700 or so 16- to 25-year-olds from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were supported by 150 experienced diabetes support personnel; 35 diabetologists and psychologists were available at all times to resolve doubts and queries and resolve concerns.

Addressing shortcomings in diabetes care and school support in Spain

The DAWN Youth WebTalk survey in Spain demonstrated that, as is the case elsewhere, children with diabetes in this country suffer psychological problems; emotional well-being is low, while depression and anxiety are present in around 30% of the young people surveyed. The strong demand for psychological support was common to all of the survey groups. Children with diabetes and their parents and healthcare professionals reported that unresolved social and psychological issues lead to inadequate metabolic control in 26% of children and adolescents with diabetes.

Driving research and action for long-term improvements in Denmark

A growing body of evidence confirms that in order to improve health outcomes, a transformation is required in the understanding and perceptions of the psychosocial issues that face all people with diabetes. In young people with the condition, these are exacerbated by the multi-dimensional challenges inherent in childhood and adolescent development. As in many other countries, a gap exists in Denmark between the psychosocial issues affecting children and adolescents with diabetes and current treatment practices.

From research to response in Italy - working alongside the Ministry of Health

People with diabetes require a range of interventions to manage their condition – medical treatment in isolation is not enough. In order to achieve optimum blood glucose control, the psychological, social and emotional aspects of living with diabetes also require at-tention. Diabetes and its related human, social and economic effects are important issues for the Ministry of Health in Italy. The Ministry’s commission on diabetes is engaged in developing plans to improve primary and secondary prevention and care of the condition.

Improving quality of life and solving problems at school in the Netherlands

Enhancing peer support for young people with diabetes is a high priority for DAWN Youth in the Netherlands. Another is its work to help teachers and other school personnel to improve the support they can offer. Indeed, support is the core principle of all DAWN Youth Netherlands activities. Moreover, support underpins a third key area: promoting the use by healthcare providers of a system for the regular assessment of young people’s quality of life, and using this information to build a national database to help understand their needs.

New perspectives, new solutions - improving care for children in Brazil

Brazil is a country of continental dimensions, the fifth largest in the world, and the fifth most populous – nearly 200 million inhabitants. It is characterized by its diversity, geographically, and in terms of its varied climate, ethnic and cultural complexity and economy; Brazil is the tenth largest economy in the world, a country where huge wealth and widespread  poverty co-exist at close quarters.

Identifying recent advances and remaining challenges in paediatric diabetes care in Japan

In Japan, the growing number of children and adolescents with overweight or obesity is driving an increase in youth-onset type 2 diabetes; the figures for type 1 diabetes remain constant among young people. In response, a number of initiatives have been developed and implemented in order to address diabetes-related issues and promote healthy living for young people affected by the condition.

Addressing the daily problems of children and adolescents in South Africa

In South Africa, managing diabetes in children and adolescents can be especially challenging. South Africa is a country of great socio-economic and ethnic diversity, where healthcare, like culture, languages and customs, varies significantly from one area to another. Furthermore, access to healthcare depends on affordability and availability, ranging in quality between developed- and developing-world standards. With these challenges in mind, the DAWN Youth South Africa survey was undertaken to evaluate the effects of diabetes on young people with the condition and their  family.

Advocacy, training and tools to improve psychosocial support for children with diabetes

Since its launch in 2006, DAWN Youth has worked to complement a number of existing programmes in the USA which contribute to the well-being of young people with diabetes. The US WebTalk survey recorded first-hand testimonies from young people with diabetes, their parents and healthcare professionals on what it means to live with diabetes. As in all  participating countries, schools were identified as a key area for improvement in the USA. This article outlines two of the initiatives of DAWN Youth USA, which may be a source of  ideas for action and improvement in other countries.

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