WDF supports development of Indigenous Diabetes Reduction Bond

The project will benefit Indigenous communities in Canada and create a model that could be scaled up or reproduced in similar contexts worldwide.

16 February 2021 Gwendolyn Carleton

The project aims to reduce or prevent type 2 diabetes in six Canadian Indigenous communities. Its interventions will be community-driven, co-created, and aligned with community priorities and cultures. Photo courtesy of Aki Foods.

Diabetes and its complications are a serious burden for Indigenous communities in Canada. To address this, the Raven Indigenous Impact Foundation (RIIF) today announced plans to create a Diabetes Reduction Bond – an innovative model for designing and financing diabetes interventions in Canada and around the world. 

The project is supported by a $506,000 (USD) grant from the World Diabetes Foundation.

“We have to rethink how we address social problems in order to make lasting change in our communities,” said Jeff Cyr, CEO of RIIF. “Indigenous communities and knowledge have to be at the centre of the approach. This solution really is a trifecta that will drive transformation in the health care system: the investment of private capital allows indigenous community-led intervention to improve health outcomes, resulting in massive systemic savings for government.”

RIIF will use the WDF grant to build on the groundwork established by its Indigenous Solutions Lab on Diabetes Reduction, a project to co-create diabetes reduction interventions for Indigenous communities in Canada. Solutions Lab participants included 6 First Nations communities, the RIIF, the Lawson Foundation, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of the Department of Indigenous Services Canada (FNIHB), as well as regional health authorities, medical professionals, Novo Nordisk, and several foundations.

Poverty focus and scalability

The grant will fund the development and launch of a pilot Diabetes Reduction Bond/Community-Driven Outcomes Contract (CDOC) to finance the diabetes prevention interventions created by the Lab. The CDOC will cover a 5-year intervention period, bringing in private capital through the Bond and placing government in a position to pay for successful outcomes. 

The initial CDOC will focus on reducing or preventing type 2 diabetes in 6 Indigenous communities (the Island Lake Nations in Manitoba and Mi’kmaq Nations of PEI). All interventions will be community-driven, co-created, and aligned with community priorities and cultures.

This is the first Canadian project supported by WDF, which normally funds projects in low- and middle-income countries. 

“WDF’s support is based on the CDOC’s strong poverty focus and potential to develop a new funding model that can be applied worldwide,” says Leif Fenger Jensen, WDF’s Managing Director. “We are pleased to support this innovative project, which will benefit some of the most marginalised populations in Canada even as it creates a promising explorative pilot that could potentially be scaled up or reproduced in similar contexts at a later stage.”

“The support also offers WDF an opportunity to ‘give back’ to Canada, the home of the researchers who discovered insulin, on the centennial celebration of this discovery,” Mr Jensen adds.

Read the full RIIF Press Release

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