• Ngunnawal elder Violet Sheridan lives with diabetes and she was scared of contracting COVID-19. (Sarah Collard: NITV News)Source: Sarah Collard: NITV News
Diabetics are being encouraged to check in with their doctors after data showed high rates of disengagement with healthcare providers during the pandemic.
Sarah Collard

20 Jan 2021 - 7:16 PM  UPDATED 20 Jan 2021 - 7:27 PM

Diabetes Australia is prompting people living with the disease to get back on top of their care with a new campaign.

Titled 'Back on Track', the multi-platform campaign is urging those who may have fallen behind with their appointments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, to get in touch with their local medical service.

Indigenous people are almost four times as likely to live with diabetes compared with other Australians.

Ngunnawal Elder Violet Sheridan, who is a diabetic, admitted that her management of the disease had dropped off.

She said her fear of COVID-19 was so great she was reluctant to go out into the community or to even engage with her health care providers.

“I can be a bit naughty, I don’t listen sometimes which I should… I need to get my mind focused again after getting off track,‘ she told NITV News.

"I went down to one of the supermarkets, I went in when COVID was raging real bad when it was first here in Canberra and the grocery store was just packed, I panicked, I panicked, panicked, I just left everything."

Christopher Lee, the manager for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement at Diabetes Australia said they've collected data that corresponds with stories like Ms Sheridan's.

“There were lots of fears around social isolation and social distancing and many people stopped going to their Aboriginal health clinics and appointments during this time,” he told NITV News.

“Now that we are getting on top of the COVID pandemic it's about time people got back on track, we're encouraging people to get back on track with their diabetes care and management.”

Failing to properly manage diabetes can have serious risks causing kidney problems, nerve issues and further complications including blindness, amputation and death.