Diabetes in Society


Out of the office, into the community – micro financing for children with diabetes in Tanzania

In 2005, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) programme, Life for a Child, began providing insulin, syringes and other essential supplies, including equipment to measure long-term blood glucose (HbAIc) and educational materials, for 146 children with diabetes at the Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Help was also received from other agencies, as well as from the Tanzanian Government. The impact of these life-saving initiatives on the children and their families has been very positive.

Adolescents living with diabetes – in their own words

Adolescence is a period of dramatic change. The effects of the onset of puberty and the consequent, both emotional and physical, can be dramatic. It is not uncommon for adolescents – and their family members – to feel like their life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, as their body undergoes dramatic transformations, not all of which are welcome. The transitional period between childhood and adulthood presents a range of specific challenges for young people living with type 1 diabetes and their diabetes healthcare providers.

Fighting for a future and winning against all odds: Suman’s inspiring story

In parts of the world, in many developing countries in particular, marriage prospects for young women with diabetes are hampered by the general societal lack of awareness of the disease and severe economic poverty suffered by the majority of the population. The discriminatory attitudes that are widely held in many countries can condemn a woman with diabetes to a life of social isolation and economic hardship. Structured support from dedicated healthcare providers and peers with diabetes can have a life-changing impact on these women and their future prospects.

Tour of Bolivia – and a breath of fresh air

When professional cyclist, Kyle Jaques Rose was invited to do a tour of Bolivia, it was his diabetes more than his bicycle that took him to new heights and led him to unexpected challenges. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 16 years, Kyle is a member of the Team Type 1 cycling team. On and off the bike, he is an active advocate for diabetes rights and responsibilities. Here, he describes his inspirational South American journey.

Proyecto Itzaes – preventing diabetes through education in rural Yucatan

The mission of Proyecto Itzaes is to provide educational resources for children and families in villages in Yucatan, Mexico, where traditional farming and fishing no longer can support Indigenous communities. Vulnerable and resource-poor families, forced on to a diet of processed food imported into the region, have developed worrying levels of obesity – and related complications, including type 2 diabetes. Proyecto Itzaes is based on the premises that literacy can help to protect health, and the fundamental tools of literacy should be available to all.

Patient 13 – taking the quest to cure type 1 diabetes to the big screen

Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Lisa Hepner, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes more than 20 years ago, is not one to shy away from a challenge. Initiating and realizing her latest project has provided her with a big one: to reach as many people as possible with a production that will engage and entertain, and raise awareness about diabetes. Patient 13 follows the 30-year quest for a cure for type 1 diabetes. And, as they say in the movies, ‘this time it’s personal’! Here, Lisa tells the story behind Patient 13.

Older people living with diabetes in India – in their own words

I was admitted under Dr Anil Bhoraskar in a critical condition. My blood sugar level was low, I was dehydrated and did not know where I was or what day it was. I later learned that mine was a case of hyperosmolar non-ketotic coma. I was given urgent treatment at the SL Raheja Fortis Hospital in Mumbai. The doctors brought me out of coma and I recovered completely and was discharged after eight days.

Strong at heart – Ali Ibrahim from Maldives in his own words

Ali Ibrahim was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010 and became a member of the Diabetes Society of Maldives shortly afterwards. Since then, he has become increasingly active and competent in the management of his own diabetes and a fine role model for other people with the condition.

Multi-ability alert dogs for people with diabetes and visual impairment

Guide Dogs in the UK was established in Wallasey, near Liverpool, in 1931. Since then, many thousands of blind people have benefited from having a guide dog. Recent research into the training of people who are visually impaired has shown that around 30% of people who train with a dog have some form of additional disability. For many, this can be a co-morbid condition like diabetes. Lee Stanway reports on progress towards the provision of multi-ability alert dogs to protect the health and wellbeing of people with diabetes.

Building capacity for care and prevention in Malawi

A impromptu meeting of people with diabetes at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in the country’s capital, Blantyre, generated the impetus to establish the Diabetes Association of Malawi. The author of this report was among those founding voices to call upon other people with diabetes to come together to form an organization that would advocate for the health rights of people with the disease.