There’s no avoiding the fact that it’s been a dreadful time of late for Melburnians…
 
We’ve watched, with increasing concern, a spike in new COVID-19 infections. This then led to the re-introduction of Stage 3 restrictions in 36, then 39 suburbs; the imposition (with immediate effect) of a hard lockdown of nine residential towers in inner Melbourne; the closing of Victoria’s state borders; the diversion of incoming international flights to other capital cities; and, finally, the extension of the Stage 3 restrictions to cover greater Melbourne, along with the Mitchell shire, for a further period of six weeks. 
 
At Diabetes Victoria, we did our best to support the more than 22,000 NDSS registrants caught up in the initial suburban lockdowns and worked in conjunction with the many agencies providing food and essential services to the tower residents, of whom we estimated that just under 300 were NDSS registrants. It’s been a stressful time for all involved, but I’m proud of our efforts to reach out and offer practical support, advice and reassurance that others were looking out for those locked down.
 
So, where to from here? Having come through the earlier lockdown (which was much tougher than elsewhere in Australia), I’m confident that Melburnians will endure… notwithstanding that it will be hard. Of greatest concern is the current extent of community transmission of the virus, as this was not the trigger for the earlier lockdown. Then, we were able to successfully control the virus’ transmission from overseas arrivals by isolating them in the so-called quarantine hotels – but, as we now know, this arrangement broke down more recently. We will have to await the findings of the judicial inquiry that has been set up by the Premier to understand what went wrong and led to the spike in infections, but it has understandably resulted in a lot of anger and resentment in the wider community.
 
Another significant challenge will be maintaining our emotional wellbeing and resilience over the next six weeks. For Diabetes Victoria staff, our priority will be on looking out for each other and continuing to connect through our technology platforms. For NDSS registrants, our messaging will continue as before – we’re here to help; please contact the NDSS Helpline (1800 637 700) for specific assistance; and go to the NDSS website for up-to-date information and resources.
 
On a more positive note, we’re looking forward to a range of activities to celebrate National Diabetes Week, which commences on Sunday 12 July.  Our theme this year is: 80 reasons to celebrate – focusing on Anna Moresby, who becomes the first woman in Victoria to live 80 years with diabetes.  We’ll also be featuring the stories of more than 40 other Kellion awardees this year; promoting the recipients of the 2020 Gwen Scott Program grants; and supporting Diabetes Australia’s awareness campaign on the emotional challenges of living with diabetes.  More details of Diabetes Victoria’s NDW campaign are available here.
 
I’m also very pleased that Phases 2 & 3 of the development of a Marketing & Communications Strategy by ntegrity P/L will get underway shortly.  In addition, Larter Consulting P/L has just been appointed to assist us in developing an organisation-wide Prevention & Health Promotion Strategy.  A commitment to develop both these strategies was made by the senior managers and me at our 2020 Strategy Planning Session in early February – so we have pressed on, notwithstanding the strange times we live in…
 
Finally, congratulations to Professor David Simmons: Professor of Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, who received the prestigious Norbert Freinkel Award at the (virtual) 80th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association last month.  Professor Simmons was honoured for his research on pregnancy and diabetes.  At Diabetes Victoria, we’re delighted that Professor Simmons has also been a great supporter of, and advocate for, OzDAFNE – a comprehensive, evidence-based program for people living with type 1 diabetes.
  
With kind regards
 
 
Craig Bennett
Chief Executive Officer
 
We support, empower and campaign for all Victorians affected by, or at risk of, diabetes.