Manitobans 25-years-old or younger with Type 1 Diabetes could be covered for insulin pumps and advanced glucose monitors.

A group of politicians and health experts gather Monday morning at a Winnipeg pharmacy to announce supports for young people who have diabetes. Premier Kelvin Goertzen says some medical issues, such as Type 1 Diabetes have not gotten the attention it deserves due to the pandemic.

"The challenge of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2 in Manitoban and Canada has been one of the most significant health challenges that our province and our country has been facing," Goertzen says.

He adds that this disease is often difficult for young people to manage, saying a $6 million fund from the province will help them do so.

"Our government is establishing a new program for Manitobans affected by Type 1 Diabetes. For the first time in our province's history, we will be covering the cost of Advanced glucose monitors for children and youth 25-years-old and younger," Health Minister Audrey Gordon says.

Children in Manitoban are currently given insulin pumps at no cost with the Manitoba Pediatric Insulin Pump Program. With Tuesday's announcement, those aged 18-25 will have their own program, also covering them for the pump starting in November. Pumps cost an average of $6,400.

Up to 200 Manitobans will be covered getting an insulin pump.

gordonHealth and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon says a finger-pricking challenge allowed her to see first-hand what the task of finger pricking 10 times a day is like. (Screenshot: Government of Manitoba/YouTube)

"Managing Type 1 is a daily struggle, and self-management is made tremendously better through technology such as insulin pumps, CGMs, and flash glucose monitors which would improve overall blood glucose and time and target range, keeping more people out of the hospital and reducing longer-term complications,"  Dr. Nick Hajidiaco says.

Hajidiacos, a national board member with the Type 1 research organization JDRF, says in the current system can be difficult to obtain an insulin pump for adults. 

"It's a bit of a hodgepodge because theirs is not paid for so those who want their pump go through their endocrinologist and go to the pump companies directly."

The doctor says there is anxiety around the disease, affecting health even further. 

Manitobans are required to pay out-of-pocket for advanced glucose monitors until their Manitoba Pharmacare Program deductible has been met.  Approximately one thousand Manitobans are estimated to get an advanced glucose monitor with the new funds, starting on September 28. Those on Employment and Income Assistance currently have advanced glucose monitors covered. Needles, blood glucose test strips, and catheters, continue to be part of Pharmacare coverage.

Gordan says the program could be expanded in the future.