The CDE (Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology) was established in 1994, with the view to introduce much needed higher levels of care for persons with diabetes mellitus in South Africa.
At that time, diabetes care resources available to South Africans were inadequate, and in addition, diabetes care in the private sector was not appropriately funded by medical aids (medical insurers). As a result, diabetes care in general was sub-optimal.
The founder of the CDE, Prof. Larry Distiller, a world renowned Endocrinologist specialising in diabetes, had a vision to create an all-encompassing and comprehensive diabetes treatment and management programme, which allowed for the implementation of correct and appropriate diabetes care principles.
The concept of the CDE "Diabetes Management Programme" was born, developed, and was finally introduced into the South African private healthcare market in 1995. This was ground-breaking stuff – at that time, the concept of managed healthcare was foreign in South Africa, and the idea of ring-fencing, capitating and managing a condition like diabetes was revolutionary.
In a great leap of faith, and with good foresight, the first medical aid scheme to participate, was Tafelberg medical aid scheme. In the first month of operations, the Diabetes Management programme had a grand total of 13 patients under management.
Although this medical aid scheme is no longer in existence (it amalgamated with a number of schemes over the years), this move was a precursor to many medical aid schemes electing to become funding partners of the CDE.
In order to provide good diabetes care across South Africa, it was soon recognised that more than one "Diabetes Centre of Excellence" would be required. The "Centres of Excellence" principle needed to be expanded.
As a result, a founding preferred provider network of 14 Centres was established. At the helm at each of these "Centres of Excellence", was either an Endocrinologist or a specialist Diabetologist.
Over the years, the number of patients under CDE management has risen steadily; many thousands of patients with diabetes benefit from the CDE diabetes management programmes.
In addition, the number of "Diabetes Centres of Excellence" has also increased; the CDE operates a significant diabetes doctor network, countrywide.
The CDE is the only truly doctor-based managed healthcare programme in South Africa, and is considered the premier diabetes programme in the country.
We have been fortunate enough to win many managed healthcare awards over the years; a recognition of the impact we have had since our inception.
We would like to thank those CDE Centres and healthcare providers, who through the quality of their clinical and administrative work have helped us to achieve this recognition
We need to spread our influence wider. In South Africa, there are many hundreds of thousands of people with diabetes, who do not receive adequate care and support for their diabetes. To achieve this, partnerships with various stakeholders are key. These partnerships will facilitate better diabetes health outcomes for patients, and optimal financial risk management for funders of healthcare.