November 14 is World Diabetes Day. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the day stands to unite the global diabetes community to produce a powerful voice for diabetes awareness and advocacy. In many countries, November is also National Diabetes Awareness month.
Essentially, that means there is no escape from diabetes appearing from your social media feed for the next few weeks. No doubt, you would have noticed the numerous diabetes campaigns that are making the internet rounds the last few weeks. People with diabetes are constantly championing for a better and easier life with diabetes. This can come in the form of the latest Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) technology or getting people to recognise the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
We are often so engrossed in trying to better our own lives that sometimes we forget the needs of others who aren’t as lucky as us.
In Australia, we have the National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS), which subsidises the cost of needles/syringes, insulin and test strips for people with diabetes. For those living with type 1 diabetes, pump consumables are also heavily subsidised. We (or our pioneers) have fought hard for this access and although there are things can be improved upon, the NDSS makes living with diabetes for Australians a little more affordable.
In many countries, constant access to insulin would be considered a luxury rather than a necessity. I have heard stories from friends having to ration diabetes medications and supplies because they simply cannot afford them. Any human person cannot live without insulin. Type 1 diabetes is a autoimmune disease that renders the pancreas ability to produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to give themselves insulin to survive. Without appropriate amounts of insulin, death becomes an imminent prognosis.
This is why the work of organisations such as Insulin for Life, The Access Alliance and Sucre Blue is so important in providing access to diabetes supplies, education and healthcare to people who need it across the globe. This year, let’s put the WORLD back into World Diabetes Day. This is a day about recognising and raising awareness for our fight to improve the lives of people living diabetes. Let’s broaden that notion and fight for equality across the globe for access to diabetes healthcare, medication, supplies and education.
(The Access Alliance is doing just that with their #insulin4all campaign. Check out the insulin4all tumblr page and please help out.)