The provincial government announced it will cover costs for insulin pumps for eligible children and families through a new pediatric program.

Officials from the province and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority spoke about the program Thursday.

"In some patients, this allows for better control and prevention of long-term complications and some improvements in their lifestyle," said Dr. Seth Marks, medical director of the WRHA's Diabetes Education Resource for Children and Adolescents (DER-CA).

Madison Rietvelt, 13, has Type 1 diabetes and just received one of the insulin pumps.

"I'm really excited to not have to get stabbed with a needle every couple of hours," she said.

The pumps are worn at all times and some are even waterproof. The mechanical devices hold cartridges and deliver insulin through an insertion site under the skin.

Officials said that for eligible users, the province will "cover the cost of the insulin pumps at an average cost of $6,000 to $7,000."

The annual supply costs for the pumps, pegged at between $2,000 to $4,000 per person, will also continue to be eligible for pharmacare benefits, said provincial officials.

Chantal Sawotin, 14, has been wearing a pump for about a month. She had to pay for hers and money was raised for it through a social.

Sawotin said the pump has already made a big difference.

"My blood isn't as high so I have more energy and I wake up easier because I'm not feeling low in the morning," she said.

According to the province, there are more than 500 children in Manitoba with Type 1 diabetes.

Families interested in participating in the new pediatric insulin pump program should speak with their health-care provider, or contact the DER-CA at (204) 787-3011.

- with a report from CTV's Ina Sidhu