WP’s YLD candidates see education as the region’s main challenge. The lack of education, the myths and stereotypes that surround diabetes and the disease’s negative image contribute to discrimination, poor diabetes management and inadequate funding of diabetes treatment and prevention.
Additionally, while this may vary slightly from country to country, it is uncommon in the region for people to share details of their medical condition with others. This also contributes to the public’s low understanding and knowledge of diabetes.
To address these challenges, WP YLDs have decided to launch an online YouTube channel to educate the public about diabetes and dispel the myths that surrounds it. The videos and graphics that will be published online will not require prior knowledge and will be culturally adapted. They will be in the hand-drawing style, a popular video-recording concept which is often used to explain complicated topics in an interactive, simple and accessible way.
Each YLD will take the lead of the project for one month, during which he/she will prepare, record and upload to both YouTube and Facebook a video dispelling one myth and providing information on a diabetes-related topic. Examples of topics include the frequency of insulin injections, food restrictions, blood sugar level monitoring and physical activities.
In the South-East Asia region, the lack of awareness about diabetes together with the high cost and unequal access to treatment are the key challenges that the Young Leaders aim to address through their regional action plan.
YLDs in South-East Asia have thus decided to dedicate their regional plan to different action fields:
Raising awareness of diabetes, its symptoms and treatments
Encouraging healthy lifestyles
Improving access to treatment, in particular insulin
Advocating for diabetes to the governments
Activities undertaken as part of the Regional Action Plan include diabetes camps, healthcare workshops and working closely with IDF Members to reach out to governments and urge them to implement adequate policy measures.
The key challenge affecting the North America and Caribbean region is diabetes prevention and management. Diabetes education is very uneven from country to country, and so is accessibility and affordability of treatment and testing material. As a result, not all people with diabetes are able to maintain optimally blood sugar levels, thereby being at risk of potentially-fatal complications.
The NAC region’s Young Leaders are currently drafting their Regional Action Plan to best address the needs of the region.
Young Leaders in South and Central America have identified a key gap in the availability of accurate and comprehensive diabetes statistical data in many countries of the region. Inaccurate and/or incomplete data makes for inaccurate management, which translates into poor access to diabetes care, and insufficient treatment and prevention.
With the help of former YLDs, this term’s YLD candidates will carry out a survey, with data being collected in 11 of the 20 countries in the region to try to evaluate diabetes prevalence more accurately. Research will be conducted using online and printed questionnaires. The data will hopefully help more accurately assess the needs for medicines and care and develop regional strategies to address any identified gaps.
In MENA, YLDs have identified the lack of education and prevention as key issues, alongside inadequate healthcare systems and rising treatment costs.
MENA’s Regional Action Plan aims at strengthening the bonds between various youths living with diabetes to be able to raise a strong, united and unique voice in diabetes’ advocacy in the region.
The plan’s main activity is the T1D regional youth programme: Beta Adventures. This programme will gather young people aged 16/21 living with type 1 diabetes and empower them to go on an adventure. During this adventure, participants will receive educational talks and enjoy all kinds of activities.
The adventure’s ultimate purpose is to make the participants realise that they can achieve anything they set their mind to, and that diabetes should not prevent them to live their lives as others do. YLDs expect to have at least one member from every MENA member association attend the initiative, to have full representation across the region.
The first adventure is scheduled for the end of November and is a four-day camping trip in Saudi Arabia. During the camp, participants will receive training on how to set up tents, and enjoy outdoor activities such as rock climbing and building campfires. Volunteer doctors and medical students will accompany the group and will carry a complete diabetes kit to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the trip. Doctors will also lead educational sessions on diabetes management, with a focus on the importance of regular physical activity. Every night, participants will have the opportunity to share their thoughts, engage in debate and simply bond with each other in a safe environment, around a campfire.