Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today for the last time in the 42nd Parliament of Canada to speak to Motion No. 173, which was moved by my hon. colleague from Brampton South. The motion says that November should be diabetes awareness month. I would like to congratulate my colleague on her work.
Although Canada has always promoted health care and health care developments and worked hard to improve Canadians' health—which we are all proud of—there is still a lot of work to do. Diabetes is a chronic disease resulting from an individual's inability to produce enough insulin or use it properly. There is no known cure.
The two most common types of diabetes are type 1, which requires daily insulin injections, and type 2, which can be managed with proper diet, exercise and medication.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, 425 milion people around the world have diabetes. It is a veritable pandemic, as the incidence of the disease is increasing considerably. The World Health Organization estimates that 622 million people will have diabetes by 2040. In 2015, diabetes caused five million deaths worldwide. Furthermore, diabetes kills one person every six seconds globally, which is more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has put out the following statistics: every eight minutes, someone in Canada is diagnosed with diabetes; one in four Canadians lives with diabetes or prediabetes; and 200,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. What is even more frightening about these statistics is the fact that diabetes can lead to other health-related complications including cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, vision loss and depression. These are all conditions that present challenges for those living with diabetes as well as their families, their communities and our health care system. On top of that, most Canadians who have diabetes have no idea they have it.
It is also important to note that Canada has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world for reasons that are yet unknown. If current trends hold, one in three Canadians will have diabetes by 2020. Given the growing concern about health in Canada and my many years of experience working as a nurse, I share the hon. member's vision and understand the importance of having a diabetes awareness month. This month will have a significant impact. It will help in detecting the first signs of diabetes, preventing its onset for millions of Canadians and, most importantly, it will reaffirm Canada's commitment to fighting the prevalence of this increasingly common disease.
Canada has always been a leader in the fight against diabetes. However, despite our efforts, strategies and policies, the quality of data on diabetes monitoring in Canada clearly show that more effective approaches are essential and needed, now more than ever. The prevalence of diabetes has increased considerably over the past decade, which further increases the threat of this chronic disease.
At a time when rapid strides are being made in science, medicine and health care, Canada has the financial, scientific and technological resources to fund and develop new strategies and carry out research that will lead to groundbreaking discoveries. We have the means to make more of those discoveries.
I strongly believe that one of the key strategies for fighting this disease is prevention through education. In other words, we need to invest more in raising awareness of how serious this disease is and how it is linked to unhealthy lifestyles, reflecting strong support for government measures. This would stop diabetes from spreading further in Canada.
The president of the International Diabetes Federation, Professor Nam Cho, says that the most economical, effective and efficient way to solve diabetes-related problems, from prevention to intervention, morbidity and mortality, is through education.
That is exactly what creating a diabetes awareness month would do. It would be a great way to continue the discussion and would provide a tool for educating Canadians, promoting awareness, helping diabetics manage their own condition effectively and highlighting the message that every person with diabetes deserves the best information and the best care.
As a former nurse, I know how powerful health education can be, and I strongly believe that raising awareness of diabetes, enhancing education and improving knowledge on how to control and treat it will minimize the risk of complications. That will reduce morbidity and mortality among diabetics.
Secondly, establishing a diabetes awareness month would not just help Canadians; it would help us as well. It would enable the federal government to give more thought to the areas where increased efforts are required and to identify sectors for which we could provide more effective programs and policies.
Establishing a diabetes awareness month would encourage all levels of government to work together to ensure that Canadians get the care they need and can enjoy a better quality of life because of what we have done. That is why the following message regarding Motion No. 173 is so important: in partnership with private sector organizations, non-profits and other levels of government, we are testing and broadening the scope of the measures being taken in communities across the country to prevent chronic illnesses, including diabetes.
Listening to communities and working with other levels of government, partners and stakeholders will result in improved information and data quality as well as relevant and accessible programs. This will ultimately improve the health of all Canadians.
Diabetes is a disease that can affect anyone, and I am very concerned that some 44% of Canadians with diabetes do not even realize they have it. This chronic disease can cause alarming symptoms, which vary from person to person and should never be ignored. Symptoms include anxiety, confusion, concentration problems and visual field anomalies.
It is nevertheless important to recognize that although diabetes is incurable, it is treatable. We will save lives by educating Canadians about diabetes, disease prevention and healthy lifestyle choices and by providing further education on the symptoms and long-term complications of diabetes.
In closing, I want to express my strong support for this motion, because I know that promoting a diabetes awareness month will have a significant impact and will help us improve the lives and health of many Canadians.