THE fingertips of young Noah Davies are a mess, thanks to routine pinpricks to check his blood glucose levels.
But that’s about to change, now that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged $54 million funding for new technology which could mostly end a ritual familiar to anyone with Type 1 diabetes. The move, announced by the PM on Sunday, has the backing of Labor.
The constant glucose monitor is a device which monitors blood sugar and transmits the results to a smartphone or an insulin pump. Noah’s mum Megan, from Canberra, says her son was diagnosed with diabetes at 18 months and now wears an insulin pump.
He’s a candidate to receive one of the new devices.
With the CGM monitor, they’ll be able to check results on a phone.
“Instead of giving him a blood test we’ll be able to see if he is high or low and adjust accordingly,” Ms Davies told reporters at Campbelltown in southwestern Sydney, where Mr Turnbull was campaigning in the Liberal marginal seat of Macarthur.
For the prime minister, flanked by young people with diabetes and their parents, this was a wholly good news story.
The $54 million will subsidise the cost of devices for some 4000 young people aged up to 20.
It also played into Mr Turnbull’s innovation message to Australians and how using the latest technology can help children live normal lives.
“It’s really life changing,” he told reporters.
Health Minister Susan Ley revealed she receives more letters about continuous glucose monitoring than any other subject.
Emma Hogan, 14, said her CGM checks her blood sugar every five minutes and sends the result to her insulin pump.
“It’s so much easier when I go to school. I can look at my blood sugars during my class and not have to get out my testing kit and disrupt the class,” she said.
Reza Scibilia, from Diabetes Australia, also uses one of the new CGM devices.
“Diabetes is certainly not a death sentence. Diabetes is a pain and it’s always there but it certainly hasn’t stopped me doing anything I want to do,” she said.