ABORIGINAL community-controlled health and wellbeing organisation IWC has condemned a funding failure for blocking access for Indigenous diabetes sufferers to potentially life-changing new technology.
The Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network Primary Health Network (PHN) is running Indigenous-specific program Integrated Team Care (ITC), which is intended to facilitate access to clinical supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with chronic disease.
“In August this year, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved a ground-breaking device that provides continuous glucose monitoring for diabetics, using a non-invasive scanner and sensor duo, rather than the traditional ‘finger pricking’ with a lancet,” said IWC’s Senior Executive team Ara Harathunian and Wayne Mulvany (pictured).
“It is worn 24 hours a day and gives the GP full blood sugar reading data over a two-week period. It is an exciting step forward in treatment and prevention of diabetes. The initial monitor device is less than $100 per unit, with an additional similar cost for a sensor. We undertook trials of this device, and the results have been outstanding,
“But now the ITC program is refusing to fund this device for patients who have achieved a level of wellness as a direct result of using it.”
IWC delivers a holistic model of care including an award-winning medical centre with GPs, Indigenous Health Practitioners and Specialists and Allied Health Professionals, as well as Family and Community programs. It has 13,000 clients and rising, and more than 90% of the local Indigenous population access IWC services.
“There is no doubt the device leads to better compliance and much greater accuracy around blood sugar testing, but diabetes is an ongoing and debilitating disease that does not go away,” said the IWC Executives.
“Denying the rights of patients to a ground-breaking device that can help them better manage their diabetes is nothing short of outrageous. This device is designed to be used at all stages of diabetes, including wellness, offering a safe, non-invasive and easy way to gather vital data, including undetected hyperglycaemia, otherwise known as low blood sugar. Dangerously low blood sugar can lead to a diabetic coma and, untreated, this coma can be fatal. “
Now IWC is being forced to step in to self-fund the devices.
“It is outrageous that IWC – a community organisation and registere