Indian people are among the high prevalence groups for diabetes in New Zealand and the Indian community is being asked to help people with the disease respond to changes in their blood glucose meters.

Three new fully funded meters are nowavailable and everyone with diabetes is beingencouraged to take full advantage of a wide range of information and training available tohelp them make the change.

PHARMAC, the government’s drug funding agency, began funding the meters and test stripsfrom the CareSens range in September last year.

From 1 March 2013, only the CareSens range of blood glucose meters and testing strips will befunded in New Zealand. For most people who use a blood glucose meter, this means changing to a new meter.

Chief executive Steffan Crausaz says PHARMAC is working hard to ensure everyone is getting the information they need to be confident with their new meter.

“We really encourage family and friends of people with diabetes to ensure those close tothem are fully informed, and are aware of the support that is available,” he saysSteffan Crausaz says during the lengthy phase-in period, information and support is being provided to meter users and health professionalsto help the transition.

“It is important that people have their newmeters and new test strips, and are confident about using them before their old test strips runout,” he says.

As part of efforts to ensure people with diabetes are fully informed, a series of events called Meet Your Meter are being held in communities around the country. The meetings give people a chance to choose which of the three funded meters suits them best, and learnabout using the meters.

“We’d like people to come and meet with our team and have a chat about their new meter,” Steffan Crausaz says.

Details of the events are available at www. pharmac.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 344 899.The events offer a 45 minute presentation at the start, and people can also ‘drop-in’ to learn aboutthe meters at any time during the session.

“If people with diabetes can’t make one of our Meet the Meter events, there are lots of other places they can get information – over the phone, online, or from their doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist,” he says.Pharmaco, the supplier of the meters, isvisiting health centres and pharmacies around New Zealand providing information and trainingso doctors, nurses and pharmacists are well placed to help patients.

People can find information online at www. pharmac.govt.nz and www.caresens.co.nz; or they can talk to someone on 0800 GLUCOSE(0800 458 2673).The change will free up $10 million infunding each year for PHARMAC to invest inother medicines for New Zealanders.