Working for Diabetes New Zealand has been an eye opener for me in so many different ways. The amount of information sent out and received on a daily basis is mind-blowing – the challenge is to keep getting the message out so that the wider population understands how diabetes impacts individuals, families and communities and the wider economy. Since starting with the organisation, I have been stunned at the number of friends and colleagues who have ‘sneaked’ up beside me and in a rather hushed voice admitted they were living with Diabetes – telling to story and telling it consistently can only but raise the profile and understanding of diabetes in New Zealand.
We know the Government is setting expectations about our health services – improving quality and doing more with less. This is challenging in a world where diabetes is spiralling and the cost of care continues to climb. Having a strong voice is essential for people with diabetes and Diabetes New Zealand has an important role to play here. We advocate for better services, comment on policy and service delivery and provide opportunities for people with diabetes to shape thinking and support diabetes education. We do this by working with government, agencies, NGO’s, potential partners and charitable trusts and foundations.
But this all is meaningless without those that volunteer for us across our network month in, month out to support people with diabetes and their families, run support groups, organise branch and committee meetings and fundraise locally. Importantly the peer support that can be offered by people who understand diabetes. Experience of living with diabetes and how to avoid the pitfalls provides essential knowledge, information and support to people with diabetes and their families, community groups, or pointing to other sources of local support.
Having everybody understand the ‘diabetes story’ is as we grow Diabetes NZ is really important for us so that we can bring real and enduring benefit to people with diabetes.
Chief Executive Officer
Diabetes New Zealand