LET’S ACT TOGETHER – IDF Europe- Novo Nordisk European Diabetes Patient Advocacy Summit Series

14 December 2021

For the fourth edition of the European Diabetes Patient Advocacy Summit, IDF Europe and Novo Nordisk joined forces to explore how to advocate towards different stakeholder groups to get diabetes (back) on the agenda post COVID-19.

On the theme of ‘Let’s act together,’ this Summit Series consists of two winter webinars in 2021 and a two-day face-to-face summit to be held in the spring of 2022.The first webinar was held on December 2, 2021. The objective was to discuss how to put diabetes back as a priority on the public healthcare agenda. Bastian Hauck, IDF Europe´s board member and the webinar moderator along with Liv Nordin Christensen, Public Affairs Manager, Diabetes & CV, Region Northwest Europe at Novo Nordisk, welcomed all participants.

After some introductory remarks on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of people living with diabetes (PwD), Bastian invited representatives of three national diabetes associations to pitch their top policy priorities. Karin Duderstadt, from Dachorganisation der Diabetes Selbsthilfe Österreich (the Austrian Diabetes association), called for increased investment in education to decrease stigma and improve the understanding of diabetes among the general public and policy makers. Anna Sliwinska, from the Polish Diabetes Association, called for better reimbursement of technology and new medications for people living with diabetes . Lastly, Will Macleod from Diabetes UK called for a reduction of the inequalities in access to diabetes care among socio-economic and ethnic groups.

The panel discussion that followed was a very interactive exchange of views between Niti Pall, IDF Europe Chair, Casja Lindberg, global health consultant, patient representative living with Type 1 diabetes and a cancer survivor, and MEP Marisa Matias, member of the MEPs Mobilising for Diabetes (MMD) interest group. Alongside the discussion, participants were also very active in the chat window, sharing their experience and perspectives as well as asking questions to the panelists.

All panelists agreed on the need to re-frame the diabetes narrative to dispel misconceptions and to highlight the complexity of the condition. “Diabetes is transversal across so many domains and cuts across healthcare issues as well as social inclusion, mobility, research & innovation agenda”, said MEP Marisa Matias. Reflecting on her experience with the cancer community, Cajsa Lindberg highlighted the importance to speak with a united voice “If the cancer community, with 144 different types of cancer can speak with one voice, the diabetes community, with two main types, should certainly be able to unite their voice too”. For Dr Pall, health economics is probably one of the most powerful arguments when talking to policy makers “It is important to frame the issue around diabetes in economic terms to catch the attention of public policy makers, until now, the causal relationship between diabetes and economic benefits/disbenefits are known but have not been framed successfully”.

Further discussion on how to put diabetes high up on the political agenda will be held at the time of the next webinar in February 2022 and at the two-day summit in Copenhagen on 30-31 March 2022, when representatives of national diabetes associations will actively engage with one another.

The recording of the webinar is available here.