In 2021, T1International (T1I) established an #insulin4all Chapter in Zimbabwe, led by Global Chapter Representative Laura Munyoro. Laura, Managing Pharmacist at Helpstream Pharmacy, Mabvuku, was inspired to advocate by caring for her mother who has diabetes. Laura and other members of Zimbabwe #insulin4all’s leadership have worked tirelessly to build up membership, organize education and advocacy campaigns, and contribute to T1I actions and workshops. In 2021, members of the Chapter convened virtually and in person to establish the Chapter’s structure, including Administrative, Social Media, Policy & Legislation, Outreach, and Regional Leadership roles, as well as to set broad and specific goals.
Zimbabwe #insulin4all has utilized T1International’s advocacy action planning templates, which include real-world examples featuring T1I Global Advocates, to draft several distinct initiatives. These initiatives, including diabetes education in communities and mental health support, will contribute to their ultimate aim to develop a comprehensive national diabetes management plan and achieve lower cost insulin. One of the first projects Zimbabwe #insulin4all plans to carry out in 2022 is hosting community-based health clinics for local diabetes patients at Mabvuku Polyclinic related to diabetes self-management. They are planning free information services such as how to access blood glucose tests, signposts for mental health support, and follow-up sessions with those who may need more community support. In addition to providing direct service, these educational sessions will provide a platform for people with diabetes to share their unmet needs related to access to insulin and other diabetes medications in order to identify the main priorities for diabetes access advocacy in the region. The T1I team has worked with Laura to develop detailed plans and deliverables so that Zimbabwe #insulin4all can build capacity and carry out its planned initiatives. Laura and the Chapter has already engaged with clinic leaders at Mabvuku Polyclinic and other organizations in Zimbabwe to build allyship and pave the way for these planned initiatives.
T1I facilitates Facebook pages and other social media accounts for its Chapters and works with members to promote these pages. Zimbabwe #insulin4all Social Media Lead, Tinotenda Dzikiti, quickly built the Chapter’s Facebook page to mobilize key stakeholders, and the Chapter has used the platform to engage members of their community in innovative ways. Tinotenda has kept the page very active, with consistent, valuable video and infographic content. Laura and team featured a local action that they developed around World Diabetes Day on the Facebook page as well, utilizing input from people in the local community about sad and funny moments in their lives with diabetes. The Chapter didn’t just put out a call for action on Facebook, but rather used tactics learned from T1I to go the extra mile and record audio and video interviews with individuals in their homes and community settings.
Zimbabwe #insulin4all is already making an impact not only locally, but all around the world. With guidance from T1I GAN staff, Laura developed a testimonial about the challenges of life with type 1 diabetes in Zimbabwe and the ways her Chapter plans to address them. She shared about how beneficial T1I’s Advocacy Toolkit and brainstorming sessions with T1I Staff and GAN members have been in helping the Chapter plan its objectives with clear timelines and responsibilities, and develop key messages. The T1I team met virtually with Laura to record the testimonial, which is now featured in T1I’s new Global Advocacy Training (Basics) video. In this way, advocates in other countries can learn from how Zimbabwe #insulin4all is persevering in the face of severe health care access issues. The training was debuted as a Watch Party with T1International key volunteers and followers and is now a public resource on YouTube. T1I Staff are working with Laura and other Chapter leaders to roll out the training through Watch Parties with their members, who will see locally relevant material reflected in this new resource.
To learn more about the amazing contributions of Zimbabwe #insulin4all to the fight for #insulin4all, check out their Facebook page. You can also watch Laura’s testimonial in our Advocacy Training (Basics) video, available here (at minute 29:00).