Patamaporn Mueanpitak

Thailand

My name is Patamaporn Mueanpitak, but you can call me Numfar. I am 25 years old and currently living in Prachinburi, Thailand. I graduated from Phramongkutklao College of Medicine medical and I am working at the hospital as a doctor (general physician.) I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 21. I also wrote an article about my diabetes to motivate people,that was published in a health magazine. I also took part in a camp for people with diabetes as a staff member where I taught participants about different medications used for diabetes.
In my working life, as a doctor, I use what I have studied to educate people and help out with their needs. In the future, I am going to study to be an obstetrician. I want people to know that I am not shy that I have diabetes; and I want people to know that diabetes is not as scary as everyone thinks.

The biggest challenge is that Thailand is a developing country. So there are many people, who have no knowledge of diabetes. We also do not have a lot of technology to treat people with this disease. Thailand is an abundant country as we have various types of foods that people can choose from. Some people are not aware about the foods they eat; we eat all day, from one morning until the following morning. We hardly stop eating and enjoy whatever we eat, so this easily develops into a bad habit that is not easy to change. Therefore, when we know that we have diabetes, it sometimes too late and that causes people, family, and friends to feel miserable. It is very obvious that the best way to solve the problem for Thai people is to eat correct amounts and when you feel really hungry. You should try to avoid eating sweet foods such as junk foods with a high carbohydrates index, and soft drinks. If you eat right and choose what you eat carefully, eventually you will have a healthier, better life that will not lead to having diabetes in the future.

In Thailand, we have different ways of receiving medical treatments through Thai social insurance, other insurances and cash. Each patient can claim their treatment reimbursement differently. For the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, Insulin is vital. All hospitals have adopted different types of insulin that can be reimbursed. In addition, people have to pay money for the other equipment such as blood glucose testing and syringes. As for the Insulin pump, it is not widely used in Thailand as it is expensive and the expenditures for it add up each month. For the management of diabetes, a doctor will have appointments with their patients every two to three months and check their patients’ eyes once a year. On the other hand, the treatments in rural areas in Thailand are greatly different from the city due to the shortage of drugs and modern equipment. Therefore, this makes it difficult for patients who live in rural areas to get better medical treatment and their diabetes management suffers.

At first, I joined 12th Youth Diabetes camp of Thailand for people with type 1 diabetes in April 2011. Then I joined "Diabetic Club Family Day" (of which the Diabetes Association of Thailand is a supporter) as a staff member in October 2011 and 2013. I wrote an article which was published in Thai Diabetes Bulletin (The Journal of the Diabetes Association of Thailand, for its society members). I also helped in organizing activities for World Diabetes day at my hospital like blood glucose testing for high-risk people, an awareness poster of the symptoms and signs of diabetes, and how to prevent diabetes in the general population. My experience as a volunteer allowed me to help support and offer advice to people with diabetes while increasing their knowledge and awareness about diabetes and its treatment in children and young people. I built relationships amongst the families and support teams so that they could share experiences of difficulty and problems in managing diabetes care when children transition to adulthood.

I would like to use the great ideas that I get from YLD Programme to educate Thai people and give them support. I have a dream that I hope to realize by developing the Youth Diabetic camp of Thailand for Type 1 diabetes every year. This programme can greatly teach people how to treat their diabetes and appreciate what they have. People will get to know themselves and other people in a better way by listening and sharing experiences with each other. This programme will raise awareness in people that diabetes is not as scary or dangerous as everyone thinks. If you learn how to live and deal with this disease then you will live life happily. As a young leader, I can only achieve my goal by exchanging my ideas and thoughts with many people from other countries through IDF, and to see how they use their concepts within their country. On the other hand, when we exchange and listen to each others ideas, we can always come up with new ones and in this way improve our own plans.