Media releases

July 10, 2003

Million-dollar drive for a cure to diabetes kick-started by Medibank Private

The International Diabetes Institute (IDI) has tonight welcomed a generous grant of $200,000 from Australia's largest private health insurer, Medibank Private, which has kick-started a million dollar fundraising initiative in aid of the Paul Zimmet Diabetes Research Fund.

The fund, established by the IDI and launched this evening by Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, aims to raise $15 million over the next five years so that the research, clinical care and education programs into the prevention and cure of diabetes can become a reality.

Managing Director of Medibank Private, Mr George Savvides, announced the Medibank Private research grant at the IDI dinner held tonight in Melbourne.

"Medibank Private is proud to be the inaugural Founding Trustee for the Fund", George Savvides said.

"The grant shows that Medibank Private is serious about contributing to diabetes research programs and helping to find a cure. With diabetes now affecting one million Australians, the work of the Institute is more important than ever".

The Institute welcomed Medibank Private's announcement and emphasised the importance of the partnership in the fight against diabetes.

"It is projected that more than 1.7 million Australians will have diabetes by 2010. We hope that the partnership between Medibank Private and the Paul Zimmet Diabetes Research Fund goes some way to finding a cure in the not too distant future and reducing the impact of diabetes on individuals and their families", said Professor Paul Zimmet AO.

"Medibank Private's research grant will help fund the development of an evidence based program for those members with diabetes, to help lessen the impact of the disease, improve quality of life and reduce the complications associated with diabetes which often results in hospital treatment", Professor Zimmet said.

Medibank Private's national and international support for diabetes research also extends to a 3-year partnership it has forged with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to help raise funds to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Medibank Private offers a range of benefits and assistance to members with diabetes to help offset the cost of healthcare.

George Savvides said Medibank Private saw the investment as a win-win situation.

"By investing money in treatment and research, we hope to improve quality of life for members with diabetes, reduce hospitalisation rates and the cost of healthcare", he said.

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