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School information pack to help children with diabetes.



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Media release

 

The Hon. Dr Michael Wooldridge

Minister for Health and Family Services

 

Embargo: 10am

 

MW 58/98

 

24 March 1998

 

SCHOOL INFORMATION PACK TO HELP CHILDREN WITH DIABETES

 

The Minister for Health and Family Services, Dr Michae l Wooldridge, today launched a national information kit designed to help parents, teachers and students deal with diabetes in the schoolyard and classroom.

 

The Diabetes and the School information resource is an initiative of the International Diabetes Federation's Consultative Section on Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes, and member organisations of Diabetes Australia.

 

Dr Wooldridge said that Australia has one of the highest rates of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus among young people in the World.

 

"About 8,000 school children under the age of 18 suffer from diabetes it is estimated that the incidence of diabetes in young people has grown by half in the last five years - which is about ten new cases every week," Dr Wooldridge said.

 

"We generally think of diabetes as a middle-aged or older person's disease, but there are thousands of young kids dependent on insulin to lead a normal life and thousands of others whose diabetic condition is still unrecognised but who are at risk of serious illness.

 

"Although diabetes is not widely understood in the community, it is the sixth leading cause of death in Australia. This information kit will help parents, teachers and other children understand juvenile diabetes, identify and help classmates who are diabetics, and learn how to watch for and cope with the onset of hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia," he said.

 

Dr Wooldridge said that a National Diabetes Register will be established soon to help determine how many Australians have Diabetes, and that he would soon be announcing a comprehensive plan to tackle the disease.

 

Dr Wooldridge stressed that school children with diabetes are no different from other kids and their study should not be affected if teachers, fellow students and parents are fully informed about diabetes and aware of the students' special needs.

 

"They can do everything their schoolmates can do although they may need some special consideration, extra supervision during classes and sport, some added privileges particularly during examinations, and privacy if testing blood glucose levels and injecting insulin," he said.

 

Diabetes and the School is being distributed to schools throughout Australia. It has been produced through sponsorship by the international pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Mannheim, and has been fully endorsed by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Australia.

 

Media Contact: Bill Royce, Dr Wooldridge's Office, (02) 6277 7220