Yesterday was an important day in this election campaign for diabetes with the release of the Coalition’s Health Policy. There, on page four of the document was their commitment to diabetes. Highlighted issues included support for the development of a new National Diabetes Strategy; ongoing support for the NDSS and a commitment of $35 million to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
The acknowledgement of type 1 diabetes is, indeed, pleasing. The Policy also mentions a commitment to ’provide young Australians with much earlier access to innovative new treatments’, which I assume refers to pumps and CGMS.
Of course, I support any plan to increase access to technology. But, I hope that any expansion to the current Insulin Pump Program makes available the technology to all Australians with type 1 diabetes – not only children and adolescents.
However, credit where credit is due and the considerable focus on diabetes in this policy is to be welcomed. It shows that the significant advocacy work Diabetes Australia is doing, directly targeting politicians, is working and that diabetes is, at last, seen as a health issue that needs a coordinated national approach.
Now it’s time for the Australian Labor Party and The Greens to announce their diabetes policies. To date, neither party has revealed any information about policies that will benefit Australians living with diabetes.
This is where we all can get involved.
In the age of social media, it’s easy to drum up some interest in issues of importance. A National Diabetes Strategy is of key concern to those of us in the Australian diabetes community.
I encourage you to use social media to talk to your local member of parliament about diabetes. Acknowledge what the Coalition has promised, but ask for more. And demand that the ALP and the Greens start talking about diabetes in their health policies. Ask what they will be doing to improve the lives of people with diabetes.
With just over two weeks until the election now is the time to put the pressure on our politicians and demand more for those of us living with diabetes. Each voice is important, so do your best!
Renza Scibilia is the Manager of Type 1 Diabetes and Community Programs at DA–Vic. She has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1998. The opinions and thoughts expressed in her occasional blogs are her own.