Dr Kalpana Baskaran, President, Diabetes Singapore
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. It is my pleasure to join you this morning for the launch of “I am Adam, I have Type 1 Diabetes”, a new children’s picture book on Type 1 Diabetes. I am heartened to see our key partners involved in the War on Diabetes, including Diabetes Singapore and healthcare professionals from our public healthcare institutions, come together to support the Type 1 Diabetes community.
2. Over the past two years, COVID-19 has proven the strength of our unity as we fight together as one nation. As we take steps towards normalcy, we must continue to make inroads in our fight against diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes in Singapore
3. Locally, one in three individuals in Singapore is at risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime. If nothing is done, by 2050, it is estimated that about one million Singaporeans will be living with diabetes. Although Type 1 diabetes is less common compared to Type 2 diabetes, it remains important to address the specific needs for managing this condition well.
4. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and lifelong insulin replacement remains the only treatment modality available currently. As optimal management of the condition requires daily insulin injections, frequent glucose monitoring and structured patient education, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has put in place various measures to improve access to treatment, as well as knowledge and support to bring about improved treatment outcomes and quality of life for those living with Type 1 diabetes.
Improving Access to Treatment
5. As insulin replacement and frequent glucose monitoring are key to managing Type 1 diabetes, MOH has been subsidising insulin, insulin pumps and certain consumables for patients at our public healthcare institutions, allowing them to be more affordable to patients.
6. All Singaporeans are eligible for means-tested subsidies under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) at GP clinics for the treatment of chronic conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP), including Type 1 diabetes. To defray the cost of treatment, individuals can also withdraw up to $500 or $700 yearly from MediSave for the treatment of their conditions at public healthcare institutions and accredited GP clinics under CDMP, depending on the complexity of their condition. Those aged 60 and above can withdraw up to $300 more under Flexi-MediSave.
7. The Agency for Care Effectiveness (ACE) established by MOH will continue to facilitate negotiations on prices of drugs and devices using evidence-based health technology assessments. This will help patients, including those with Type 1 diabetes, increase access to treatments that will improve treatment outcomes and their quality of life.
8. We want to also thank Diabetes Singapore in enabling patients in need to access care packs which allow them to self-administer insulin injections safely, thus enabling better self-management and optimising diabetes control.
Improving Access to Knowledge and Support
9. Under the War on Diabetes effort, we have developed the National Diabetes Reference Materials (NDRM) which provides a set of consistent resources on HealthHub for care teams and patients to understand diabetes and motivate patients for sustained lifestyle changes. With feedback gathered from engaging citizens on potential knowledge gaps, we are developing Tier 2 of NDRM, which includes information on Type 1 diabetes. Through patient education and patient empowerment on self-management, we hope to encourage individuals to take charge of their health and achieve positive outcomes.
10. I am heartened to know that this book is written after many interviews with families with members with Type 1 diabetes, and takes a child’s perspective in understanding as well as managing diabetes. The wide distribution channels across all primary schools, pre-schools, and paediatric hospitals would help to create greater awareness of Type 1 diabetes, in particular to benefit the younger patients by helping them better understand their own condition.
11. To those living with Type 1 diabetes, I commend you on your strength in managing your condition and I wish for you to live your lives to the fullest. To caregivers and service providers, you have played an immense role in supporting those living with Type 1 diabetes.
12. I wish Diabetes Singapore and typeOne.sg a successful book launch. Thank you and I wish everyone good health.