Diabetes treatment > Access and supply

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Argentina's crisis triggers health emergency - The diabetes community's response

Diabetes affects an estimated 3.3% of the adult population in Argentina. For many of these people, insulin is a life-sustaining drug. Without uninterrupted access to insulin, people dependent on this drug for survival face the real possibility of death, some within days. The collapse of the reimbursement system and speculation have caused grave interruptions in the supply of medicines such as insulin and now an emergency response is expected from the Argentinean authorities.

Barriers to insulin accessibility: a hazard to life and health

For many people with diabetes insulin is essential to health. Indeed, there are few other conditions where the replacement of a hormone that the body has ceased producing can make an acute difference between life and death. Nevertheless, a recent data-gathering project in Central and Eastern Europe illustrated that, almost 80 years after its discovery, access to insulin supplies is still problematic.

Poverty, stress and unmet needs: life with diabetes in the Gaza Strip

The political and social situation in the Gaza Strip remains tense, with considerable disruption of normal economic and social activity. Such an environment is rarely conducive to the delivery of continuing medical care. In this article Panagiotis Tsapogas, Medical Co-ordinator of the Greek section of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Gaza, 2002-2003, reports on the difficulties faced by Palestinian people with diabetes in Gaza, and makes a call for the provision of improved diabetes care.

The activities of Insulin for Life Australia

Insulin for Life (IFL) is a non-profit, Australian-based organization established in 1999. This unique initiative evolved from the 20-year programme at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne.

IDF and WHO initiatives to put diabetes on the health agenda in Africa

Although the exact magnitude of the problem in Africa is not well understood, diabetes is a serious threat to public health throughout the continent. In 2003, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predicted that by 2010, diabetes prevalence in Africa would increase by around 95%. Ignoring diabetes could lead to the breakdown of the fragile health systems in Africa, which are already overwhelmed by communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.

Diabetes in Pakistan

Pakistan is a South-Asian country with a population of approximately 150 million. Diabetes prevalence in Pakistan is high: 12% of people above 25 years of age suffer from the condition and 10% have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). When one considers the associated risk factors present in Pakistani society, the large number of people with diabetes is no surprise. Obesity tops the list.

Diabetic hand infections in the tropics

Diabetes-related foot infections are a scourge all over the world. People suffer such infections when the skin of the foot breaks down secondary to peripheral nerve damage – one of the complications of diabetes. High blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) impairs a person's defences to infection. In poorly controlled diabetes in particular, infection can occur abruptly and spread rapidly. It is not so well-known that similar infections can occur in the hand. Globally, this is much less common than foot infection. However, it is a significant problem, particularly in the tropics.

Rapid Assessment Protocol for Insulin Access: overcoming barriers to care

Over 80 years after the discovery of insulin, access to it is still problematic for people in many parts of the developing world. In February 2001, at a meeting between the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), a call was made for the establishment of a non-governmental organization to improve the sustainable, affordable and uninterrupted supply of quality insulin for people with Type 1 diabetes in areas of need.

Staged Diabetes Management in Mexico: optimizing care with limited resources

In 1997, diabetes became the third leading cause of death in Mexico. This is a national phenomenon. Regardless of geography or the rural or urban nature of their populations, deaths due to diabetes have increased in 28 of the 32 states in Mexico. Conservative estimates place the current rate of diabetes prevalence at 7.4% among people aged 20-79 years. Estimates from other sources are even higher. Clearly diabetes has become one of the principle public health problems in the country.

Why developing countries need access to cheap treatments for diabetes

There is still a widespread misconception that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes are not relevant to poor people in developing countries. For these people, medicines for the treatment of such conditions are regarded almost as a luxury. Scientific evidence testifies to the contrary. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes are escalating in developing countries. This is giving rise to severe economic as well as human consequences. An effective public health strategy for poor countries requires continued access to low-cost, high-quality generic medicines.

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