The Canadian Diabetes Association is promoting a “diabetes charter” for the nine million Canadians, it says, are living with the disease or are vulnerable to it.

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The Canadian Diabetes Association is promoting a "diabetes charter" for the nine million Canadians, it says, are living with the disease or are vulnerable to it.

Members of the association, as well as government and health care officials, are holding an event at the Manitoba Legislative Building today to promote the cause.

Joan King, manager of outreach and individual advocacy for the association, said a national vision for tackling diabetes is a necessity. She terms the seriousness of the disease "a national health crisis."

King said health care and government officials and diabetes sufferers worked with her group in developing the charter.

"It proposes a vision of a country where people have the supports and care that they need to manage their diabetes," she said.

One of the charter’s principles is the need for equality in services throughout Canada. Right now, there are discrepancies in access to specialists and services across the country, King said.

In Alberta, for instance, there is full coverage for insulin pump programs, while in Manitoba there’s an age limit (only those under age 18 with Type 1 diabetes are covered).

In various parts of the country, there are differences in the medications that are covered by government health insurance programs. And there is also unequal access to kidney dialysis or for foot care that can avoid the need for amputations, King said.