The Danish Diabetes Association has supported diabetics in Denmark since 1940. We have app. 80.000 members and are one of the largest Associations of Patients in Denmark, headed by Chairman of Board Truels Schuelz and CEO Henrik Nedergaard. Since 1992 His Royal Highness, Prince Joachim has been protector of our organization.
Our organization was founded by the Vice Mayor of Odense, Niels Jørgensen and merchant Axel Nielsen on the 12th of December 1940. During this time 2nd World War was raging, and Denmark was occupied by the Germans. In spite of this, local communities were established all over Denmark, and our organization was immediately met by great sympathy and understanding.
Since the early days we have steadily grown bigger. From only 72 members at the beginning, our organization grew to 1,314 members at the first meeting of delegates in September 1942, and up until today, we have seen a constant increase of members in our organization.
Along the years many children and adults with diabetes have been in contact with our organization and benefited from our counseling and courses. Once a year we organize a nationwide collection in order to raise money to the cause and spread the word of diabetes.
Right from the start of the organization we have influenced the legislations made by Danish politicians. For instance, during the 2nd World War, diabetics achieved the right to tax-reduction due to extra expenses on food. Diabetics also got the chance to replace coupons of sugar with coupons of butter and margarine. In 1946 our organization succeeded in making it possible for diabetics to get hired as civil servants with payments for pension included in their income. On a recent note, one of the major steps in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, that we are proud to have influenced, is a national diabetes plan, which the Danish National Health Minister launched in 2003. A plan which, we believe needs to be continually updated to reflect the development of the disease, including the alarming increase in the number of diabetics.
Today we´re a strong and powerful organization well backed up by our many members.
We stand up for people with diabetes
In the Danish Diabetes Association we stand up for people with diabetes.
We have experts on politics, who deal with legislation concerning diabetes, and we exert our influence on more levels of management through hearings-answers, participation in working parties and lobbyism. In particular we ensure, that the rights of the Danish diabetics aren´t reduced. Lately legislations from the EU, which came into force on January the 1st 2012, have deprived diabetics the right to keep their driving license, if they get sudden low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) more than once a year. We oppose this political initiative. Studies show, that incidents with low blood sugar often happen during nights. Also the Danish diabetics with driver’s license are fully aware of the risk and know how to prevent this dangerous situation. If they test their blood sugar before driving and simply always keep glucose in the hands compartment of their cars, prohibition is unnecessary.
We have experts that practice legal advice and counseling on the physical, social and psychological problems, which diabetics and their family members meet in their everyday life. Also counseling on the telephone from one diabetic to another has proved to be valuable for especially for newly diagnosed persons.
And we have experts that develop and organize courses for our members, i.e. type 1-children and youngsters and their family, as well as experts who educate kitchen staff in hospitals and other institutions on nutrition.
In our local communities motivational groups are formed to run through a scheduled program, where support, mutual inspiration and motivation are aroused through various activities to promote change of life style of the participants.
Information – a major task
Information about the disease has always been a major task for our organization. Already in April 1941 we published the first magazine to our members. Issues, such as the blissful effect of insulin and how diabetics could maintain their jobs, took up space in the magazine. Today we produce two magazines. One, which has been titled various names, and now simply is called ”diabetes”, is targeted diabetics, their family members and people, who support the good cause. The other magazine is aimed at health care professionals. The first deals with the broad aspects of diabetes, i.e. matters of life styles, information about new diabetes medicine and other relevant stories to diabetics. The latter updates health care professionals on the latest scientific news related to diabetes care.
We also produce booklets, patient care guidance’s, cookbooks and other publications that inform about the disease and contain well-grounded advices on life style matters such as nutrition, exercise etc. In terms of cookbooks we try to satisfy the many Danes that love traditional Danish food, which contains a fair amount of fat. In the old days robust fat food was a necessity for the hardworking rural population and industrial workers in cities, but today, where technology has taken over much of hard work in the rural districts and the in the industry, people need less calories. The latest product from our dietician is a cookbook, titled ”Granny-food”, in which they give traditional Danish dishes a modern twist by using less fat and adding more vegetables.