Is it just me, or do you find it hard to believe that a large percentage of type 1s in developing countries still do not have access to adequate supplies and care? What I find almost harder to believe is the fact that not only is the general public completely unaware of this situation, but much of the diabetes community is also in the dark. What is going on here?!
I do not understand how this problem can be so unknown and overlooked, or for that matter, so ignored. Yes, living with type 1 diabetes, wherever you are, is hard. It’s very hard. But can you imagine what it might be like to deal with everything a type 1 diabetic deals with in a place where healthcare is inadequate and you aren’t sure whether you have enough insulin for your next injection? What if you experienced high and low blood sugars, but had no understanding of your condition or how to properly treat it? While many of us are waiting for Pumps, CGMs and the Artificial Pancreas, so many people are just hoping to make it through the day while deciding between a meal and their medication.
I do not understand how the issues related to access to insulin, like the ones I brought up in my last post, are not being broadcast and adamantly tackled. I have recently discovered a few organizations that focus on diabetes in the developing world. However, I am utterly confused because I have been part of the diabetes community for over 20 years and have a strong interest in international development, yet I had never heard of or otherwise discovered these groups and projects.
If you are like me, you’ll be surprised to hear about the World Diabetes Foundation, for example, which is an independent and non-profit foundation governed by the Danish Act on Foundations. It was founded in 2002 with the objective to ”open a window of hope in developing countries by supporting prevention and treatment of diabetes.” Whaaaat? Where did these guys come from?! Their web site goes on to say: ”It is our hope that increased global awareness will increase the resources to address and limit the diabetes epidemic.” Awesome! But why haven’t we heard of them? Why aren’t they getting the word out about what they do and asking us, seasoned diabetics, friends and family of diabetics, those who are touched by diabetes in some way (because, lets be honest, we all are whether we know it or not), to help their cause?
I do not understand why this organization, and others like it, aren’t utilizing the army of diabetics they would certainly have ready to aid them, if only they knew about it. What I do understand is that at the very least we need to be informed and aware that these initiatives are happening so that we can do something. So read up on the World Diabetes Foundation. Check out their projects and see if the organization is one you would like to support or spread the word about. In future posts I will be spotlighting the other projects I have discovered that are working towards a similar goal. In the meantime, please let me know if you are aware of other initiatives, groups, organizations, or people that strive to better the lives of those living with type 1 in the developing world so that we can share that information in this space and begin to understand.