The theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day is ‘Diabetes: Nurses make the Difference’. This is an important opportunity to recognise the work done by diabetes nurses all over Europe, especially considering their current position at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. Often a person living with diabetes has more contact with their diabetes nurse than their doctor or specialist. For this reason, we advocate for the adequate education, training, and funding of our nurses in Europe.
In keeping with this theme the title of our World Diabetes Day symposium is ‘How to build a better future for diabetes nurses in Europe?’ The event is organised in conjunction with ‘Verband der Diabetes- Beratungs- und Schulungsberufe in Deutschland’. The symposium will explore the current situation regarding nurses and diabetes educators in Europe with the aim of developing a common set of goals and demands that can be translated into a call for action in favour of nurses in Europe. The symposium will also feature input from FEND on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diabetes specialist nurses in Europe. A preview of the highlights of the IDF Europe Diabetes and COVID-19 survey will also be presented.
The symposium will start with the launch of a new MEP Interest Group on Diabetes - ‘MEPs Mobilizing for Diabetes’. The co-chairs, Sirpa Pietikäinen and Christel Schaldemose will give an introduction to the group whose activities will officially begin in early 2021. Diabetes is a condition that is often misunderstood. There is a general lack of knowledge among the general public and policymakers about the condition which results in too little attention being paid to it. We believe that by supporting the launch of this MEP Interest Group, we can help ensure that the voice of people living with diabetes is heard and that the necessary policy changes are implemented.
The group has three key aims:
To elevate diabetes on the political agenda
To dispel myths about the condition and promote understanding
To foster EU policy around key priorities, in particular improving diabetes management, care, and risk reduction approaches, promoting better (affordable) access to medicines, technologies, and care, reducing health inequalities, and eliminating discrimination.
None of these objectives can be achieved without adequate provisions made for diabetes nurses in Europe. As the first point of contact with people living with diabetes, they will be key to the implementation of these policies and we are happy to be celebrating the incredible work they do this World Diabetes Day!