I recently had the pleasure of speaking with David Beran, one of the brains behind the 100 Campaign, an exciting initiative to increase access to insulin worldwide. David has extensive experience in diabetes in the developing world. He was the Project Coordinator of the International Insulin Foundation (IIF) since its establishment in November 2002 until September 2011, and is currently Advisor to the Board of Trustees. He was also a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Health and Development, Institute of Child Health, UCL. There he focused on the areas of health management, access to medicines, diabetes, chronic diseases and health systems in developing countries. He continues this work now based at the University of Geneva. Needless to say, David is one of those people who has done some amazing work for a cause we care about! Thanks to David for informing me about the background of the IIF, some of the projects that the organization worked on, and the very recent launch of the 100 Campaign website!
What is the International Insulin Foundation?
IIF was founded in 2002 by medical professionals from Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa because they recognized that lack of insulin is still a problem today. While globally there is no shortage of insulin production, there are still many individuals with Type 1 diabetes who do not have access to a reliable supply of insulin and therefore specific supply solutions need to be found at country and regional level. The IIF wanted to create sustainable nation-wide access to affordable and reliable sources of insulin by providing technical support to change health systems in the countries where they worked, which include Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Vietnam and Zambia. They decided that they would not receive donations from pharmaceutical companies because the insulin market is actually governed by three western companies who dominate. You can read more about the mission of the IIF here.
What came out of the IFF project?
The IIF created a Rapid Assessment Protocol for Insulin Access (RAPIA) tool to assess barriers and work with local partners through their interest. From this work the IIF has developed an 11 point plan to assist countries in improving diabetes care. There were several successes in the various countries they worked with, including Santé Diabète Mali (SDM), a French NGO in Mali, which took on the recommendations of the reports. A Twinning Project with Diabetes UK was also successful in Mozambique and continues through the work of the Ministry of Health and the Association of Mozambican Diabetics.
What is the 100 Campaign?
The IIF is launching the 100 Campaign to push for the achievement of 100% access to insulin by the 100th anniversary of its first use treating a patient with diabetes 1922. The Campaign hopes to work similarly (in some ways) to the success of many HIV/AIDS campaigns that came from individual voices, which can make the most impact. To date the diabetes community has failed to have a global voice in addressing the global issues of insulin access.
The campaign hopes to amplify and share stories of individuals and communities working in the field who have achieved results and progress in terms of access to insulin, empowering and connecting them to others. It also hopes to provide tools that will lead different communities at the national, regional and global level to change the system for the better.
Check out the 100 Campaigns website at http://100campaign.org/. There’s information about the campaign, some startling facts about insulin access around the globe, and various ways you can share this information. The best part is an awesome questionnaire which allows you to find out how your insulin access compares to access in other parts of the world. Walk through the easy and quick questions and you may be surprised to find what it’s like in some places – or that it’s not as bad as you might have thought in others.
The web site is sparkly and new, so there’s more to come. Definitely one to watch for updates!