Ronaldo Wieselberg

Brazil

Hello everyone!

My name is Ronaldo Wieselberg- pronounced "Vee-zel-berg", due to my polish descent- and I'm from Brazil. Nowadays, I'm a Medicine student and Tutor to the Young Leaders in Diabetes Training in Brazil. I was born in August 13, 1991 (so, in Melbourne, I'll be 22 years old) in São Paulo. When I was two years old, I said to my mother that, "when I grow up, I'll be a doctor". A month later, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This way, my desire to become a doctor grew stronger.

I failed some times when trying to enter the university, and, as the tests happen once in a year, I had some free time... And decided employ this free time in a good cause. Then, I started the Young Leaders Training in Brazil, at the ADJ (Associação de Diabetes Juvenil, "Juvenile Diabetes Association"). The next year, I entered the Medicine course and became Tutor in order to continue my participation in the Training. For people in general, we have two main problems: the lack of prepared professionals to deal with patients with diabetes and the lack of diabetes care products in the public health system.

The first one isn't exactly a professional's problem. Since we don't have a national diabetes program, structured to develop the diabetes education and diabetes educators, we have too many professionals that treat diabetes as a symptomatic disease: "since your HbA1C is high, here, take this insulin and come back in three months". It isn't their fault, since they, most of the time, haven't learned how to deal with a disease where the treatment requires the patient's commitment in order to succeed; and don't even know what to do in order to develop themselves in this area.

The second one is a problem of resource distribution and, sometimes, corruption. The Brazilian public health system offers some treatment to patients with diabetes - NPH and regular insulin, blood glucose test strips, syringes, metformin and, beyond these, anything the patient needs if asked by an administrative/judicial process - but the lack of these supplies is common. In big cities, such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the patients may be informed that there is no insulin available due to an industrial problem, transportation time, etc, but in smaller cities, often the patients are never informed about the causes.

As a Young Leader in Diabetes, my main goal is to help in the development of a project which will in turn help professionals and patients to learn about diabetes, in order to spread diabetes education throughout the country. It seems a dreamy project, but, with the support of my Medicine School and ADJ, we aim to build a Diabetes Reference Center at the Central Hospital of Santa Casa de Misericórdia de São Paulo, one of the biggest hospitals in São Paulo.

Nowadays, we are walking step by step, using a card game I’ve developed in order to help doctors to teach the patients how to carbohydrate count, the differences among the exercise types and the differences in insulin types.

As a leader, outside my project, I'd like to be a motivational figure to other people who want to build something towards the public’s well-being. Since we are, all of us, good examples for people, it would be a great thing to become the inspiration for others.