Hello, my name is Fred Appiah-Twum and I was born on the 10th of May and I have had type1 diabetes for almost 20 years. I come from the central region in Ghana, which is in West Africa, but currently live in the Tema community. I have two kind siblings, a brother Francis and a sister Tracy and very wonderful parents: Fred and Vida whom I love very dearly. I currently work as a telecom engineer in Tema.
My greatest challenge in living with diabetes is that I got diagnosed when I was really young, so for the first 10 years of my diabetes I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I knew I was different from the other kids because they didn’t do what I did and because I couldn’t eat most of the things they ate.
They certainly didn’t take insulin shots before their meals. It was like clockwork the first few years. Everything was routine and sometimes I felt very lonely. I would sometimes try to be like the other kids and though it never ended well for me, for the particular 5 minutes I was being naughty, it felt good. Trying to fit in as child with diabetes in Ghana was made easier by my family, especially my siblings and my doctor who gave me and still give me support, as a child and as an adult, and this has helped me throughout the ages and even till today and I am very thankful for their abundant love and support.
I believe the management of diabetes should be the same if not similar across all countries, but in Ghana there are too many ever changing dynamics involved. These range from finances, availability of drugs and medical kits to mental attributes and so many others. Ideally, people check their glucose levels three times a day and take their insulin with their meal, but the management of diabetes is affected by lots of factors. In addition, people diet or completely abstain from certain kinds of food to better improve their management. Others also turn to herbal teas and foods and dietary supplements.
I would like to create a massive diabetes awareness campaign in Ghana which will formally and informally educate the people of Ghana on diabetes and also start a platform that will bring us closer as people with diabetes.