Diabetes is a growing health problem for a large number of our citizens, which is lately increasingly affecting children and young people, says Brankica Janković, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, on the occasion of World Diabetes Day, indicating that today is another opportunity to start acting and do much more on prevention so that those living with diabetes are not exposed to discrimination because of their health condition.
According to the data of the Institute for Public Health of Serbia, “Dr. Milan Jovanović Batut”, late detection of diabetes, inadequate treatment, and lack of support for the patient can lead to serious and life-threatening complications. In Serbia, diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death and the fifth cause of disease burden. It is estimated that around 460,000 adults in Serbia know they have diabetes, while approximately 250,000 have diabetes that has not yet been detected. In Serbia, as in the world, more and more children and adolescents live with type 1 diabetes.
Given the guaranteed right to health care, as well as the right to education, of all children without discrimination, at the beginning of this year, the Commissioner sent an initiative to the Ministry of Health, which the Ministry of Education supported, to establish procedures in preschool institutions, as well as in institutions of elementary and secondary education, on dealing with children and students with diabetes and other non-communicable chronic diseases, as well as rare diseases, with the aim of support, good control of the disease and prevention of its complications. Introducing these procedures would improve their position and protect them from stigmatization and discrimination, the Commissioner reminded.
The Institution of the Commissioner recently recommended that all preschool institutions in Serbia change the enrollment form so that when registering the child for enrollment, the parent could indicate that the child has diabetes or another rare, neurotransmitter or chronic non-communicable disease. This would mean that the institution already, at the moment of application, has information about the needs of the children, the type of therapy, and how therapy is administered, as well as time to prepare capacities for the necessary support. It is important that preschool institutions recognize the importance of this recommendation and that they inform us day after day that they have acted on it, Janković points out.