New Zealand and Type 1 Diabetes
Editor’s Note: Learn about the DKA Awareness Campaign in New Zealand.
About New Zealand & Type 1 diabetes
New Zealand (NZ) is a small country at the bottom of the world, yet, as is the case in other countries, the incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing, from 10.9 per 100,000 aged 0-14 years in 1990, to 22.5 per 100,000 in the same age group in 2009. (Derraik J, Reed P, Jeffries C, et al. 2012.)
Another study suggests that 1 in 500 school aged children have type 1 in New Zealand. According to Diabetes New Zealand, it is estimated that approximately 10 percent of all diabetes in New Zealand is type 1 diabetes, meaning that there are around 26,000 patients with the disease in the country.
Approximately 5 percent of people with type 1 are admitted to hospital each year, with around 2/3 of these admissions related to their type 1 diabetes (T1D), says South Land Alliance. There is some variation throughout the country, with one study demonstrating that there is a higher admission rate in the southern part of the South Island (Otago, Southland, Canterbury) than the rest of the country. It is not fully understood as to why this is the case.
Type 1 diabetes patients are managed by specialist teams within the Public Health Sector in New Zealand, with key medications funded for all patients by central government, via the Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC). Insulin pumps, while also funded in the public environment, are strictly controlled, and up until July 2016 even required a specific committee to review and approve all applications from clinicians for pumps.
The funding of glucose test strips and meters has been very controversial in NZ, with all patients required to switch from various existing brands onto a single, cheaper brand several years ago. This caused much consternation amongst clinicians, T1 patients and their families. Future funding in this sector is currently under review. Continuous glucose monitoring devices are not funded for any patients in New Zealand.
A major challenge for groups supporting patients with T1D (like Beyond Type 1) is to educate the general public about type 1 diabetes and, in particular, to help differentiate it from type 2 diabetes. When fully informed, the public will understand and support the need for all appropriate treatments and devices to be fully funded for patients with T1D.
Patrick Forrester lives in Auckland, New Zealand and has a 20-year-old son with type 1 diabetes (diagnosed five years ago). He’s proud to be involved with the fight to improve access to appropriate treatments for his son and other people with type 1 and to help educate New Zealanders about the disease.
About Beyond Type 1
Founded in February 2015, Beyond Type 1 creates and funds a portfolio of programs, technologies and innovations that those living with type 1 diabetes need to manage, live and thrive. Our goal is to highlight the brilliance of those fighting this disease every day while always working toward ensuring a cure is on its way.
By establishing a supportive community via powerful social media people are connected on a global scale in a new way. Our Instagram campaign “Living Beyond,” showcases the age, range and variance of those living their best life with T1D, and our website and social media platforms provide education and support.
High profile collaborations and carefully curated special events will provide education and awareness, affording a greater capacity for strategic fundraising. Because our Founders + Founding Friends pay all operational and fundraising expenses, 100 percent of every dollar raised directly supports the most promising global efforts and programs working to educate, advocate and cure type 1 diabetes.
We aim to be provocative, inclusive and disruptive: putting a face on this disease, clearing up misunderstandings about who is affected by T1D and eradicating the stigma that comes from living with a chronic disease. We recognize there is a different narrative to be told: that of a strong empowered community living a powerful life beyond the diagnosis. We also recognize a future free of T1D is possible and we are here to make certain that future materializes. We are here to disrupt diabetes.