Brampton South MP Sidhu's National Framework For Diabetes Act passes second reading
The sight has never left Brampton South MP Sonia Sidhu’s memory.
Some four years ago as a healthcare worker specializing in diabetes, Sidhu admits she was taken back when she took notice of the what was happening at Brampton Civic Hospital.
“Twenty-two machines were running kidney dialysis day and night,” said Sidhu, who spent 18 years working in the health sector. “It is very scary.”
Today, one in four Canadians live with prediabetes or diabetes, a chronic disease that can result in life-threatening complications if not treated.
In Brampton, the rate is one of every six.
“It’s a big number,” Sidhu said.
The local Liberal MP knows something needs to be done, which is why she’s excited her bill to establish a National Framework For Diabetes Act, Private Members Bill #C237, unanimously passed a second reading in the House of Commons earlier this month.
It has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Health.
Sidhu believes federal and provincial coordination and information sharing is needed to prevent and treat diabetes, as well as to prevent health inequities among people suffering with the disease.
“I know in Brampton, and all of Canada, we need that kind of framework and this is why I’m working very hard on it,” Sidhu said.
In Canada there are 11 million people affected by diabetes or prediabetes. Without treatment, those who have the disease can suffer a stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and amputations among other complications.
The number of the amputation rate is very high in Ontario.
“The number of diagnosis has doubled in the last 20 years,” Sidhu said. “Every three minutes another Canadian is added to the list.
“When I was working in the healthcare centre, I saw this. Even though a healthy lifestyle is great and health eating and exercise (is needed), more than that we need to do something.”
Which is why Sidhu’s national framework aims to include measures to:
a) explain what diabetes and prediabetes is;
b) identify the training, education, and guidance needs of healthcare and other professionals related to the prevention and treatment of diabetes, including clinical practice guidelines;
c) promote research and improve data collection on diabetes prevention and treatment;
d) promote information and knowledge sharing in relation to diabetes prevention and treatment; and
e) take into consideration any existing diabetes prevention and treatment frameworks, strategies and best practices, including those that focus on addressing health inequalities.
Sidhu, who became chair of the all diabetes caucus with 62 members on Parliament Hill, previously made 17 recommendations to the house committee regarding the disease.
Sidhu previously travelled across the country in order to see how the Canada Food Guide impacted diabetes and worked to help get the guide translated into 26 languages.
She also travelled to Italy to see how it is treated there.
“So globally we can see what we are not doing what other countries are doing,” Sidhu said.
She took notice on her travels across Canada how necessary medical equipment can cost different prices. While some areas of the country covered the cost of an insulin pump, others only paid 75 per cent.
She also noticed how hard the disease is on indigenous communities.
“Oh my God, it’s really hard. Socially economical factors and there’s a lot more,” said Sidhu, whose National Framework For Diabetes has received endorsements from many local organizations including Peel Public Health, the City of Brampton, CNIB and Diabetes Canada.
“That’s why we really need a national framework where we can share all the awareness at the same levels so people can benefit from it.”
This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Canada leading the way on diabetes with the discovery of insulin. Sir Fredrick G Banting, Charles H Best and JJR Macleod made the life saving discovery at the University of Toronto back in 1921.
“It’s a discovery that changed the lives of millions around the world,” Sidhu said.
The Brampton South MP recently announced $6M in funding towards two teams of scientists doing stem cell research to find a cure for diabetes.
“I’m very hopeful if we can find a cure then we can lead the way (again),” she said.
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