'It's a very good start': Diabetes organization pleased with Manitoba government's commitment to help youth with the disease
WINNIPEG -- The 2021 budget in Manitoba has some good news for young adults and children who suffer from Type 1 diabetes.
"Budget 2021 includes funding to establish a new program to pay for the cost of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices for eligible children and youth under the age of 25," said Scott Fielding, finance minister of Manitoba.
He added the government is also increasing the age limit for the insulin pump program from 18 to 25.
Dr. Nick Hajidiacos is a board member with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and works at St. Boniface Hospital. He says the organization has been advocating for an age limit increase for several years.
"Right now it's only been up to 18, which means once you hit 18-years-old, once your pump is off warranty, the only way you replace is by paying for it out of pocket or if you're lucky enough to have insurance that will pay for it," said Hajidiacos.
He added with the age increase, it means more people will have access to new technology.
"We're now looking at hybrid closed-loop pumps, which works with CGMs to adjust your blood sugar."
Hajidiacos said this technology works through a catheter under the person's skin and it allows them to adjust insulin levels throughout the day without the need of several injections a day.
He noted JDRF was hoping the program would be opened to all adults, but he said this is a step in the right direction.
"It's a very good start and I am very happy to see that we will be at least be able to begin a program for adults with this technology."
When it comes to the continuous glucose monitoring devices, Hajidiacos said it's more good news from the province, as the devices help eliminate finger pricks and can also provide a clearer picture of people's sugar levels throughout the day.
Dougald Lamont, leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, said the government was asked for help with diabetes and that happened, but he also feels the province pulled its punches.
He said he wanted no age limit for the support.
"Instead of just saying that, which would actually save tens of millions dollars in health-care costs, they said we're only going to give out up to 25, it's only going to be for young people that are eligible," said Lamont, noting people don't stop having diabetes once they turn 26.
Hajidiacos said the JDRF will continue to work to make sure the government follows through on the funding promises and he hopes one day these programs will be available to all ages.