Indigenous Solutions Lab on Diabetes Reduction in Canada
The Indigenous Solutions Lab on Diabetes Reduction is a response to the epidemic of diabetes in many First Nations and will attempt to create a community-driven social finance opportunity for 6 First Nations. Community participation is crucial to each stage of the Lab process and ensures that solutions make sense for the communities we work with.
Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a growing concern globally; Canada is no exception.
The situation is particularly dire for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, despite the fact that diabetes was non-existent in Indigenous communities until mere decades ago. A study done in 2016 showed that the lifetime risk of developing diabetes for non-Indigenous youth was a startling 5 in 10, but was even higher (8 in 10) for First Nations youth. While the non-Indigenous prevalence of diabetes was 5.0% in 2011, it was double that (10.3%) among First Nations off-reserve and more than triple that (17.2%) among First Nations on-reserve.
High diabetes rates have undermined individual well-being and disrupted the social fabric of Indigenous communities. The economic costs of diabetes in Canada are frightening; direct economic costs of type 1, type 2, and pre-diabetes are estimated to reach $39 billion by 2028 if current trends continue.
Many organizations and institutions, including the Government of Canada, have invested in initiatives aimed at reducing the prevalence of diabetes, thereby mitigating the effects of this health crisis. To date, these initiatives have seen few lasting results. The Indigenous Solutions Lab builds a business case for sustainable and community-desired diabetes interventions, paving the way for lasting transformation in the health of Indigenous Peoples.