It has been another hugely exciting year for T1International. Early in 2018, advocates held meetings in New York and Cincinnati to kick of state-level advocacy for transparency lower insulin prices. The Cincinnati meeting resulted in the formation of the incredible KOI#insulin4all Chapter, which has achieved so much in a very short time, including ensuring that the insulin price crisis is a top priority for the Kentucky Diabetes Medical Emergency Response Task Force. Later in the year, we saw the launch of Chapters in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, and Iowa (with more to come).
Throughout 2018, we also provided one-on-one intensive training sessions to advocates in the USA, Ghana, Germany, Kenya, Bolivia, Uganda, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. All of them are carrying out detailed advocacy plans to improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes in their countries and receiving ongoing guidance and support from T1International. Our advocate Cate is particularly inspiring, as she struggles with painful diabetes complications but continues her strong advocacy for everyone with type 1 diabetes in Kenya.
Our advocacy workshops also included several group sessions as well, with an online introduction to advocacy session (along with Ariel Lawrence of Just a Little Suga’) in August. The intro session was all about showing people the possibilities of advocacy and activism. In July, Elizabeth joined the League of Diathletes – advocates with type 1 diabetes from 10+ countries – in London to deliver an advocacy session.
August was monumental, with our first full, multi-day advocacy training workshop in Accra, Ghana. T1International partnered with the Sonia Nabeta Foundation on a project called Pamoja – meaning ‘’together’’. Twelve advocates from five African countries came together for an intensive two-day training session where they created detailed advocacy plans to educate their communities about the vital need for insulin and supplies. In 2019, we hope to bring these advocates together again to further their plans and enable them to train the next cohort of Pamojan advocates.
In addition to our core advocacy training program, T1International made multiple submissions, statements, and representations at high-level events and important hearings, including the WHO Independent Global High-Level Commission on NCDs, Insulin Access and Affordability: The Rising Cost of Treatment, Civil Society Hearing on NCDs, and more. We led the Meds Cost Lives Campaign which was launched at the World Health Assembly. Our advocate handed out the T1International policy asks document to embassy members and spoke about the movement in his speech.
Along with other advocates, we represented #insulin4all at the Affordable Meds Now Conference, where Elizabeth read Nicole Smith-Holt’s powerful statement. Nicole was a powerhouse advocate throughout 2018, especially in May when T1International supported her to hold a press conference outside the Eli Lilly shareholder meeting. Then, when Eli Lilly announced their Helpline, Nicole’s statement called them out on their lack of true solutions. Later in the year, we named Nicole our Charity Ambassador.
Lots of hard work on US insulin price issues culminated in our 2nd annual Eli Lilly demonstration with partners People of Faith for Access to Medicines. There were multiple documentary film crews on site, as well as many media outlets resulting in TV, Radio, and online press. Powerful imagery from the day was shared thousands of times and covered by local and national outlets. The insulin price crisis continues to be at the forefront of national conversation and we are seeing moves at the state and federal level to lower drug prices. We are proud that so much of our advocacy is behind this progress.
This is truly only a highlight of our proudest achievements this year, but we have worked in countless other ways to support advocacy and further our mission. We’ve held other meetings, created new resources, covered issues in new countries, been featured as Price fighting Heroes, and we are a partner in the exciting OPEN Project, adding a global access and affordability perspective to an exploration of DIY technology.
The Board of Trustees met in November to plan ahead and to work towards sustainability and ever-more ambitious outcomes. We have released our next organizational strategy, which we are excited to share, and are thrilled to be recruiting for a USA Program Manager. We have a commitment to continue our truly global focus and to keep our laser-focus on our vision and mission. It in huge part down to the efforts of the advocates we work with and those who support us that we have come so far. We really can't thank you enough!