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The Government of Greenland and the Novo Nordisk Foundation announce plans to strengthen initiatives related to diabetes and lifestyle in Greenland

Similar to many other parts of the world, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases are rapidly increasing in Greenland.

The Government of Greenland and the Novo Nordisk Foundation have approved a vision statement aiming to strengthen initiatives related to diabetes and lifestyle in Greenland. The key element of the project is establishing Steno Diabetes Center Greenland – a new major knowledge and resource hub that will serve all of Greenland from its location in Nuuk.

The vision of the initiative is to improve public health and the quality of life of every person with diabetes or other lifestyle-related diseases in Greenland.

Similar to many other parts of the world, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases are rapidly increasing in Greenland. A survey has shown that nearly 10% of the population has type 2 diabetes, and 20% has prediabetes. The reasons for this include lifestyle changes and the genetic predisposition of the Greenlandic population to develop type 2 diabetes.

”Our ambition is that the new initiatives will improve treatment, research, prevention and education within diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases to benefit people in Greenland,” says Lars Rebien Sørensen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

”Now that we agree on the vision, we can work on a detailed implementation plan for the project,” adds Lars Rebien Sørensen.

Minister: the plan covers the whole country

Once the detailed implementation plan is completed, both the Government of Greenland and the Foundation need to approve it, and this is expected in 2020. The Foundation’s Board will then make a final decision on a grant to strengthen the initiatives related to diabetes and lifestyle in Greenland.

“The Government of Greenland is looking forward to a major boost related to diabetes and lifestyle, which primarily will benefit the people of Greenland but can also significantly strengthen intersectoral collaboration on disease prevention,” says Martha Abelsen, Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Justice, adding:

“The Government of Greenland emphasizes that the plan covers the whole country, so that everyone who needs it receives high-quality healthcare services. We expect that the experience from developing and preparing initiatives related to lifestyle can help to strengthen other areas of Greenland’s healthcare system.”

A new major knowledge and resource hub

The vision statement for strengthening the initiatives related to diabetes and lifestyle in Greenland includes establishing a newly constructed outpatient knowledge and resource hub in Nuuk, which will act as a development and knowledge sharing centre in this field.

The statement also includes developing new ways of treating children and adults; strengthening early detection, disease prevention, research and intersectoral collaboration; and educating both people with diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases and healthcare personnel.

Representatives from Greenland’s healthcare system, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance and the Greenland Center for Health Research participated in developing the vision statement together with the Foundation.

The Government of Greenland approved the vision statement on 8 November 2018, and the Foundation’s Board approved it on 26 November 2018.

The vision statement follows in the footsteps of the Foundation supporting the establishment of Steno Diabetes Centers in all five administrative regions of Denmark in recent years.

About Steno Diabetes Center Greenland

The vision statement for strengthening initiatives related to diabetes and lifestyle in Greenland is based on the following elements:

  • Constructing a knowledge and resource hub (Steno Diabetes Center Greenland) in Nuuk. The Center will be an integrated part of Greenland’s healthcare system.
  • Developing new ways of treating children and adults with diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases.
  • Expanding Greenland’s research on diabetes and lifestyle in collaboration with Greenland’s healthcare system, the University of Greenland and the Steno Diabetes Centers in Denmark.
  • Developing education and competency development programmes for people in Greenland with diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases, their families, personnel in Greenland’s healthcare system and the municipalities.
  • Increasing intersectoral collaboration, focusing on disease prevention and early detection.

The strengthened initiatives related to lifestyle cover diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular diseases.

Further information

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805, cims@novo.dk

Malene Marie Nielsen, Director, Agency for Health and Prevention, Government of Greenland, phone +299 34 43 00, sundhedsledelsen@peqqik.gl