Diabetes - A Major Public Health Problem

Diabetes mellitus is a major public health problem affecting some 6% of the Canadian population. Like many other Western countries the prevalence of diabetes in Canada is increasing as our population ages. The prevalence of diabetes in the Indigenous population appears to be increasing much more rapidly than in other population groups. The reason for this disparity is controversial.

The complications of diabetes, including heart attacks, gangrene, kidney failure and blindness, currently account for a very significant proportion of the total public health care budget and it is anticipated that this cost will continue to escalate over the next decade. A significant proportion of hospital health care costs are devoted to patients with diabetes related medical problems. Close to half the patients in this province who receive kidney dialysis or kidney transplantation have renal failure secondary to diabetes. More research is necessary to determine the causative factors both in the development of diabetes and its complications so that preventative measures can be adopted. Of equal importance is the need to adopt a broader definition of medical research and develop ways to facilitate the transfer of new knowledge and techniques to improve the health of patients with diabetes.

Goals and Objectives

The Diabetes Research and Treatment Centre (DRTC) is an interdisciplinary centre whose function is to promote research, education and treatment of diabetes in Manitoba. It was established in response to an identified need to link the general public and researchers actively involved in diabetes research and promote the transfer of knowledge of new science to the public. To do so a DRTC Community Council is being formed to:
• establish a network of dedicated Manitobans to assure the effective flow of information and knowledge to and from the community
• raise public awareness of diabetes as a major public health burden
• serve as a bridge between academics and scientists of the centre with the public
• assist the DRTC in developing resources to support its goals.

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