Mobilising for diabetes

At European level, the main advocacy targets of IDF Europe are the EU Institutions (European Parliament and European Commission), the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization European Region. At national level, the Federation acts as a bridge for its Members by informing them on the latest policy developments Europe-wide.

INTERVIEW WITH POLSKIE STOWARZYSZENIE DIABETYKOW (POLISH DIABETES ASSOCIATION)

2014 - Polskie Stowarzyszenie Diabetykow (Polish Diabetes Association)

Can you shortly describe the association?

The Polish Diabetes Association (PDA) is the oldest and largest patients’ association in Poland. It was created by an initiative group from Bydgoszcz, central Poland, in 1981. In the early 1980s, the major aims of the association included obtaining food suitable for diabetics, distributing syringes, importing human insulin, and educating patients. It began issuing two magazines, Diabetic and Diabetes: A News Bulletin, which are still issued today, as well as various books and booklets.

Reflecting upon the 35 years of its activity, the PDA prides itself on securing diabetes treatment that is much more efficient and higher in standards than ever before. Thanks to the association many new outpatient clinics dedicated to diabetes were created. PDA also spread the usage of insulin pens and glucometers, as well as educated about 500 000 people in the field of diabetes. Last but not least, many people with diabetes have found new friends and confidents, thus reducing depression and anxiety thanks to PDA.

Today, the association is more active than ever. Its major tasks include: representing people with diabetes in Poland and their interests in the country as well as abroad, ensuring high quality of diabetological care, improving legal, material and social position of diabetics in the society, educating people in the field of diabetes, overcoming unemployment among diabetics, engaging people in various sorts of activities that are beneficial to their well-being, helping those who have social, financial or other problems resulting from diabetes, gathering funds for members’ rehabilitation, supporting local initiatives, organizing annual World Diabetes Day celebrations, as well as other events, such as diabetological fairs, symposia, conferences and educational trips, and holding the annual “Crystal Hummingbird” competition, where awards are given to the most outstanding medical professionals and activists.

What did the IDF Europe Prize in diabetes represent for you organisation?

We are extremely proud of the prize and it means a lot to us. There are so many associations in Europe who do wonderful job and, in 2014, we were acknowledged as the best one. Even after 2 years, we keep boasting about the award.

What are the main changes you have seen in diabetes prevention and management at the national level in the last 15 years?

In Poland, the changes have been rather slow. The government seems to be somewhat afraid of diabetes, since it concerns a lot of people and is quite costly. We have obtained reimbursement for some modern medications, which in the meantime stopped being modern and became normal (like long-acting insulin analogues).

Which tool(s) do you use to promote diabetes prevention and awareness at the policy maker level, at the general public and individuals?

At the policy maker level, we write letters to the government and meet parliamentarians, in cooperation with the doctors' and nurses' associations. At the general public level, we issue educational magazines, run web and Facebook pages, organize educational meetings and conferences, as well as diabetes screening.

What are your current and upcoming projects?

We are hoping to be able to obtain some more funding in order to take up even more education and awareness activities. We would like to be able to achieve the best possible diabetes care for people living with diabetes in Poland.

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