The IDF Diabetes Atlas (Fifth Edition, 2011) estimates that there are approximately 490,000 children under 15 years with type 1 diabetes. There is probably a similar number of youth with diabetes aged 15-25. However, the estimates for numbers of children and youth in many developing countries are very incertain due to lack of data. Additionally type 2 diabetes is on the increase in children and adolescents in all countries irrespective of socio-economic status (IDF Diabetes Atlas, 2011). It is estimated that 80-100,000 children and youth around the world are in urgent need of assistance.
Lack of access to insulin remains the most common cause of death in a child with diabetes (Gale, 2006). The estimated life expectancy of a child who has just developed diabetes could be less than a year in some areas (Beran et al, 2005). Many die undiagnosed, others through lack of insulin or lack of expert care. In some countries, expert care is available but resources are limited and so early and serious complications frequently lead to death in young adulthood.
The International Diabetes Federation "Life for a Child" Programme was established in 2001 with support from the Australian Diabetes Council and HOPE worldwide. It is an innovative and sustainable support programme in which individuals, families and organisations contribute monetary or in-kind donations to help children with diabetes in developing countries.
The formula is simple: contributions from donors go to established diabetes centres enabling them to provide the ongoing clinical care and diabetes education children need to stay alive. The centres provide comprehensive clinical and financial feedback to the Programme management team in Sydney.
The Programme aims to provide:
- Sufficient insulin and syringes
- Blood glucose monitoring equipment
- Appropriate clinical care
- HbA1c testing
- Diabetes education
- Technical support for health professionals
Some centres need support for all these areas; others need support for only some components.
The IDF Life for a Child Programme is currently helping over 11,000 CHILDREN AND YOUTH WITH DIABETES IN 43 COUNTRIES.
Republic of Congo