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Public Health funding crisis: still no national plan for diabetes prevention

Professor Jim Mann, Co-Director of the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR), and Director of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, has been interviewed by Radio NZ about the under-funding of public health services in Aotearoa New Zealand.

While a one-off funding boost for public health has been crucial for New Zealand's COVID-19 response, Professor Mann says that under-funding of public health services over many years has contributed to an untold amount of ill-health and premature deaths.  Many preventable non-communicable diseases lack the health resources needed, including diabetes and obesity, which are also significant risk factors for poor outcomes from a COVID-19 infection.

Obesity was officially declared an epidemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1997, with levels of diabetes also reaching epidemic proportions.  Despite this, Professor Mann says that successive governments have failed to develop a national plan for the management and prevention of these diseases.

Diabetes New Zealand, along with the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre and the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, are teaming up with PricewaterhouseCoopers to determine the current cost of diabetes in New Zealand and provide a cost-benefit analysis of certain interventions, treatments, and preventive measures.  The report is due out early in 2021.

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