New funding to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders children and youth affected by type 2 diabetes welcomed by Diabetes Australia

Diabetes Australia has welcomed the announcement by Hon Ken Wyatt AM, Minister for Indigenous Health of nearly $4m in funding to develop, pilot and implement new, culturally appropriate programs in Northern Australia to specifically help Indigenous children and youth affected by type 2 diabetes.

“West Australian data has shown rates of type 2 diabetes in young Aboriginal people may be 20-fold higher than in non-Indigenous young people,” said Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia.

“Type 1 diabetes is very rare in Aboriginal children and youth, but type 2 diabetes is at epidemic proportions.”

“These First Nations children and youth developing type 2 diabetes have hospitalisation rates 20-fold higher than non-Indigenous youth, and a very high-risk of end stage kidney disease.”

“Rather than closing the gap – it has been getting wider.”

“We have to reduce the profound and tragic impact type 2 diabetes is having on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

“It is critical that people can access culturally appropriate programs and support to help them manage type 2 diabetes and reduce their risk of developing very serious complications.”

Professor Johnson said the funding announced today by the Australian Government would enable a co-design approach involving leading researchers and clinical experts, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, policy makers and others to work together and Diabetes Australia was delighted to be part of this collaborative group.

“Diabetes Australia would like to acknowledge all of the members of the Northern Australia Youth Diabetes Collaboration, particularly Professor Louise Maple-Brown and Dr Renae Kirkham, the lead investigators from the Menzies School of Health Research,” he said.

Professor Johnson also acknowledged the Federal Government’s allocation of $2.7 million to encourage physical activity among young people in the Northern Territory.

“The Bridging The Gap Foundation’s (BTGF) National Indigenous Preventive Health and Educational Program (NIPHEP) is an innovative program combining soccer and health education,” he said.