Developing countries

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Agents for change: champions in the fight against diabetes in South Africa

The potential threat from type 2 diabetes in  South Africa remains dangerously underestimated and its current prevalence widely unrecognized. Yet the problem is growing at an alarming rate. A series of factors that are particular to the region represent enormous obstacles to an effective response by people with the condition, healthcare providers and wider society. In this article, Noy Pullen identifies some of the key socio-economic, environmental and educational issues affecting rural South Africa.

The fattening rooms of Calabar - a breeding ground for diabesity

Calabar is the capital city of Cross River State of Nigeria. It is a cosmopolitan town with a population of about half a million people. The population of Cross River State stands at around 2.5 million. Inhabitants of the region are mostly farmers, fishermen and civil servants. The Efik in south Calabar are a proud people with a rich cultural heritage. In Efik communities, the preservation of centuries-old values and customs is central to the tradition of ‘fattening rooms’.

Abject poverty, major difficulties and tragic outcomes in Cambodia

When her doctor diagnosed her with type 2 diabetes in 1997, it was shocking news to Sokhann. For more than a decade, she lived with her condition without any treatment, education or follow-up.

Bambi in danger - poverty and unmet needs in Mauritania

Bambi is a 19-year old Mauritanian woman. Illiterate and poor, she is married and has a four-year-old daughter. Early in 2008, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It took her 10 months of struggle to learn to read her blood glucose monitoring device and inject insulin.

Xiaoping's story: multiple psychosocial barriers to a full and happy life

Xiaoping, a 15-year-old girl living in a rural region of china, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in october 2007. since then, her life has undergone a series of dramatic changes.

Further puzzles and uncertainties - and some progress

Editor-in-chief's editorial

Diabetes in Nauru: the price of economic wealth and westernization

While we may believe we understand the connection, Nauruans know first-hand, and perhaps better than anyone else, the bitter link between negative lifestyle change and one of its devastating consequences – type 2 diabetes. Located in the Central Pacific, 60 km south of the equator, Nauru is the smallest independent republic in the world. Its 10,000 inhabitants occupy a single coral island only 6 km long and 4 km wide. Approximately 80% of the population are indigenous Nauruans of Micronesian origin.

'Stomp the Fat' - an effective national weight-reduction campaign

Despite a fall in diabetes prevalence from around 35% in 1975 to 16% in 2004, obesity and non-communicable diseases, including type 2 diabetes, remain the primary threat to health and well-being confronting Nauru in the 21st century. Nauru has few natural resources and, with a population of only 10,000, does not have the critical mass to support manufacturing. Nor, with a tiny land mass of 21 km² and unfavourable topography and soil conditions, can it support farming.

The extraordinary challenges faced by young people with diabetes in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Diabetes in young people is a heavy burden all over the world but it is particularly severe in developing countries. Although the condition is the same, the context can be very different. Young people with diabetes in the Democratic Republic of Congo have to face a number of major challenges. They are perceived as having a ‘mysterious disease’ which requires a lot of attention on a daily basis throughout a lifetime. Belief in spells is quite common in Africa, and many families feel it is their responsibility to find the person responsible for causing the diabetes.

Addressing the daily problems of children and adolescents in South Africa

In South Africa, managing diabetes in children and adolescents can be especially challenging. South Africa is a country of great socio-economic and ethnic diversity, where healthcare, like culture, languages and customs, varies significantly from one area to another. Furthermore, access to healthcare depends on affordability and availability, ranging in quality between developed- and developing-world standards. With these challenges in mind, the DAWN Youth South Africa survey was undertaken to evaluate the effects of diabetes on young people with the condition and their  family.

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