PRINCETON, NJ — While Native Americans have the highest per capita incidence of diabetes in the United States, aid for medical needs and health care for Native Americans is significantly underfunded. Indian Health Services, the division of U.S. Health and Human Services that focuses on the concerns of Native Americans, receives approximately $2,000 per person per year, while Medicare is funded at more than $7,000 per person per year and Medicaid is financed at nearly $4,000 per person per year.¹
The risk for diabetes is more than twice as high in Native Americans than in non-Hispanic whites.² And, the consequences of poor diabetes control, including kidney disease, blindness, and limb amputations, are devastating to Native Americans. For example, the rate of diabetes-related kidney failure is 3.5 times higher among Native Americans than in the general U.S. population.³
Other issues related to resources and economics also contribute to the disparity. In some cases, basic medical supplies like gauze and antibiotic ointments are in short supply. Due to the remote locations of many Native American communities, access to general practitioners and diabetes care specialists is limited.
“Native Americans face particularly unique challenges that inhibit their ability to obtain adequate diabetes education and treatment,” said Jerzy Gruhn, president of Novo Nordisk Inc., a leader in diabetes care. “Novo Nordisk is working to help ethnic communities hit hard by diabetes through legislative efforts and strategic partnerships with organizations.”
The disparity in diabetes prevention and care in racial and ethnic communities is examined in the fourth issue of the Novo Nordisk BlueSheet. Highlighted in this issue are specific advocacy efforts that address the disparity. Also featured are interviews with Dr. Donald Warne, director of the Office of Native American Health at Sanford Health, about how the office serves nearly 300,000 Native Americans in 28 tribes where the prevalence of diabetes reaches 50 percent in some communities, and with one Native American woman living with diabetes about what she’s doing to take control of managing her disease.
About Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 87 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within hemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone therapy for women. Novo Nordisk's business is driven by the Triple Bottom Line: a commitment to social responsibility to employees and customers, environmental soundness and economic success. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs more than 29,650 employees in 76 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk’s B shares are listed on the stock exchange in Copenhagen and its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NVO). For more information, visit novonordisk-us.com.