This Friday is World Diabetes Day which is a chance for diabetes to get some much-needed mainstream attention and awareness.
There is an absolute plethora of activity this week in the lead up to the big day and, as usual, there is much online activity. Social media has the potential to reach a lot of people quickly, easily and cheaply. I’ve been involved in several campaigns in recent years and am always keen to see what clever ideas people come up with to raise awareness of diabetes around the world.
This year, one of my favourites is about access to insulin. The Access Alliance has created a Tumblr to draw attention to the fact that many people do not have easy access to insulin and other management tools, diabetes education and support. It breaks my heart that in 2014, almost 100 years since the discovery of insulin, there are still many, many people who cannot afford the insulin needed to manage their diabetes. This campaign is asking people to remember diabetes is a global issue and for some, accessing the things many of us take for granted – insulin, test strips, BGL meters – is a huge struggle.
I think about this often – in fact, every single time that I walk out of the pharmacy with my 5 x 10ml vials of insulin to load into my insulin pump. For less than $40, I have the next three month’s supply of insulin in my hands to take home, and keep safe and cool in the fridge. I feel guilty when I bitch and moan about the fact that I had to make a phone call to order in the insulin because the pharmacy doesn’t keep it in stock. Really? That’s the burden I deal with when I need insulin? I have to make a phone call and wait 24 hours before popping in to get my prescription filled.
No one in this day and age should find accessing insulin – or any life-saving drug – a struggle.
So, get creative and make a poster. Take a photo and upload it to the #Insulin4All Tumblr. And then share it with everyone you know – not just people with diabetes. Preaching to the converted is really important because it strengthens the numbers of people advocating, but reaching out to the general community, making people aware of the issues, getting others angry at the inequity of access to healthcare is important if we are going to make change.