What Should Change in Diabetes?

What Should Change in Diabetes?

Facebook Google LinkedIn Twitter

I can’t let today’s topic pass by without putting in my two cents.

The topic: Tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way. This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.

We at T1International definitely desire multiple changes when it comes to diabetes, but to keep things relatively short I will focus on one.

There was a similar topic in #DBlogWeek last year titled ‘Change the World‘. After rereading our post from a year ago, its hard to see that little has changed, but it emphasizes the need to reiterate why change in terms of global access to insulin and diabetes supplies is needed and to talk about how we can make it happen. So what is one thing we’d like to change?

This card means my diabetes medicine and supplies are covered by the health system of my country. This card is my lifeline and something that I treasure and give thanks for every day. This card allows me to walk into the pharmacy and pick up the things that keep me alive without having to pay a penny. This makes sense because health is a human right and I did not choose to have type 1 diabetes.

The first time I walked out of the pharmacy, insulin and test strips in hand, not having dealt with co-pays, complicated paperwork, or an exchange of money, I was stunned and overwhelmed. ”This can’t be real. That was too easy,” I thought to myself again and again. I have now been in the UK for nearly 4 years and each time I walk into the pharmacy to pick up my medicine I am filled with gratitude.

The overwhelming feelings have not worn off. This is not only because I lived most of my life in a country where the health system is so much more complex and difficult for anyone with a long-term condition, but because I constantly question why health and medical supply access is not like it is in the UK everywhere else.

People living with diabetes in a disaster zone (like Syria, for example) suffer terrors of war in addition to delayed or complete lack of access to their medicine. Others with diabetes in different countries have to pay exorbitant prices for a vial of insulin and daily blood sugar test strips are a novelty that is unaffordable to most. Even more hard to swallow is the knowledge that many children are dying before ever being able to receive any insulin at all, possibly before even knowing that the sickness they had was Type 1 diabetes.

The card pictured above needs to be a reality for everyone worldwide, not just people with type 1 diabetes, but all people with diabetes and all people with health conditions. This is a tall order considering the poor infrastructure and corruption in some countries, but it is a vital change if we are to see a better world. There shouldn’t be piles of paperwork to fill out and complicated footnotes to read and decipher in order to get medicine. Medicine should not be a prize, a purchase, or a pain. It is a human right.

Last year saw the 1st Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, and we joined voices with others fighting for UHC. You can push for changes along with us by looking out for Universal Health Coverage Day 2015 activities and by exploring our web site and following us to keep up with our campaigns focused on access for people with diabetes. If you can, make a donation to change the lives of people with type 1 diabetes.

Change starts today.