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Kids lead the way on juvenile diabetes awareness at Parliament House.



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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

20 August 2003

KIDS LEAD THE WAY ON JUVENILE DIABETES AWARENESS AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Children with Type 1 (Juvenile) diabetes are role models to all Australians, the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, told more than 100 children with the condition at Parliament House today.

“You have given the parliament and the nation a message that we will not forget when we are considering diabetes funding and research,” Senator Patterson said when launching the “Kids in the House” campaign. During the day children from across Australia met parliamentarians to raise awareness of their condition.

“You show enormous courage as you face the daily challenge of keeping your blood sugar levels within a normal range, and try to keep the multitude of complications associated with diabetes at bay,” she said.

The “Kids in the House” campaign by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) marks the first time children aged between 2 and 17 years have mobilised in this magnitude to advocate for more funding for diabetes research to the nation’s political leaders.

Some 14,600 syringes, symbolising the number of injections endured by a child living with diabetes for 10 years, were displayed on the lawns of Parliament House as part of the activities.

During the launch, Senator Patterson invited the children to share their experiences and ideas with parliamentarians. She reaffirmed the Australian Government’s commitment to providing ongoing support for diabetes products and services via the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

“These schemes provide subsidised insulin, diagnostic agents and syringes for people with diabetes which assist them to manage their condition. Government expenditure on diabetic products for these schemes for 2002-03 was nearly $260m, an increase of $27m or 11.5% over the previous year,” Senator Patterson said.

The children asked the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament and Senators not to forget them and support the needs of people with diabetes.

“The Australian Government will spend an estimated $300 million this year alone on diabetes. This includes funding

for research, education and awareness activities, prevention, general practice programs, and pharmaceutical and consumable subsidies for people with diabetes,” said Senator Patterson. “The Australian Government has also taken the lead role in the development of the National Diabetes Strategy which provides a framework for the coordination of wide-ranging activities on prevention, detection and treatment of diabetes and its complications across Australia,” Senator Patterson said.

Senator Patterson said collaboration was the key to improving treatments and ultimately finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

“The new Diabetes Vaccine Development Centre is a strong example of what can be achieved when organisations work together. This partnership between the Commonwealth funded National Health and Medical Research Centre and the JDRF is a beacon of hope for all Australians living with Type 1 diabetes,” Senator Patterson said.

Media Contact: Sarah Higginbottom, Assistant Media Adviser, Office of Senator Patterson (02) 6277 7220