Province committing $400,000 to fund insulin pumps for children with Type 1 diabetes
© Guardian file photo
Terry Lewis, P.E.I. regional director for the Canadian Diabetes Association
The province’s $400,000 commitment Tuesday to fund insulin pumps for children with Type 1 diabetes is being applauded by the Canadian Diabetes Association, but the regional director says it’s only a first step.
Terry Lewis says this new program will help only a small segment of Islanders affected by diabetes.
“It’s certainly a great starting point, however, we certainly would like to have seen insulin pumps be made available for all Islanders living with Type 1 diabetes,” Lewis said.
“It’s better than what we have now, and we are the last province in Canada to not have a publicly funded program until this announcement today.”
Lewis said the Diabetes Association has been calling for a diabetes strategy in P.E.I., which would see expanded coverage not only for insulin pumps but also diabetic test strips and for long-acting insulin.
“We currently don’t have coverage on P.E.I. for long-acting insulins, they’re not on the provincial formulary,” Lewis said.
“They are insulins that are proven to better control people’s blood sugars and for a lot of people they’re just not accessible because they’re quite expensive and if someone doesn’t have private coverage, which a good proportion of Islanders don’t, they’re out of reach.”
While all these initiatives would be ideal, Lewis said he is happy to see the province take at least one step in the right direction in helping to support the increasing number of Islanders with diabetes.
“This is a good starting point, but we’ll continue to work with the minister of health on these issues.”
Lewis also noted there was no firm time commitment on when program offering funding for children’s insulin pumps will begin.
In 2009 the province’s chief public health office reported the number of people in P.E.I. living with diabetes was almost 11,000.