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News Release - Manitoba

April 12, 2012

Province Launches Pediatric Insulin Pump Program

Pumps Will Offer Improved Lifestyle, Help Alleviate Family Financial Burden: Oswald

The province will help children and families manage diabetes and attain a greater quality of life through a new pediatric insulin pump program, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“The insulin pump may help children and youth with diabetes to lead a more normal and active lifestyle, allowing more flexibility and independence in their daily schedules and a much-improved quality of life,” said Oswald.  “Additional front-line staff will help assess children and ensure the pump is a good match, train patients and families on how to use it, and offer continued support and monitoring.”

Insulin pumps are an alternative technology to multiple daily insulin injections for intensive therapy of diabetes.  About the size of a pager, the portable, programmable insulin pumps deliver fast-acting insulin through plastic tubing connected to an insertion site on the body.  This can offer better control of blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.

“The insulin pump can improve management of blood sugars and lifestyle for some children, and reduce the potential for future complications,” said Dr. Seth Marks, medical director, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Diabetes Education Resource for Children and Adolescents (DER-CA).  “We’re pleased that families that have children who meet the medical criteria for insulin pumps will now have greater peace of mind and access to this care for their children.”

“The program will also lessen the financial burden for Manitoba families who are dealing with diabetes,” said Oswald.  “For medically eligible users, we will cover the cost of the insulin pumps at an average cost of $6,000 to $7,000.  In addition, the annual supply costs for the pumps, estimated at $2,000 to $4,000 per person, will continue to be eligible for pharmacare benefits.

There are approximately 530 children in Manitoba with Type 1 diabetes and approximately 25 to 30 per cent of those children may be medically eligible for the insulin pump program, the minister said.

“We applaud the Government of Manitoba for investing into a pediatric insulin pump program,” said Andrea Kwasnicki, regional director, Manitoba/Nunavut, Canadian Diabetes Association.  “This program will not only improve the health and quality of life for manyManitobans living with Type 1 diabetes, but will also improve the sustainability of the province’s health-care system.”  

Families interested in the new pediatric insulin pump program should talk to their health-care provider or contact DER-CA at 204-787-3011.

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