The vital signs report released recently shows that diabetes-related kidney failure among the Alaskan Native and American Indian adults has decreased by 54 percent over a period of the last seventeen years. The report was released by the Indian Health Service (HIS) in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and it covered the period between 1996 and 2013. The two federal health agencies attributed the decrease to improvements made in the population-based and public health approaches.
During the press conference, the former IHS principal deputy director, Mary L. Smith, noted that the strategies that were applied to the Indian community can also be effective in any other American community. She also added that communities, families and patients were key partners in managing diabetes and other chronic diseases. Strong synchronized clinical care and education, environmental changes together with community outreach programs were recommended for other American populations. The report has demonstrated that although Native Americans are vulnerable to diabetes, the prevention programs can reduce greatly the progression of the disease from pre-diabetes to diabetes.