The life expectancy for a child diagnosed with diabetes in sub-Sahara Africa is as low as one year. That’s right: one year.
This is a fact for 2016, almost 95 years after the discovery of insulin.
And it is just not good enough.
In The Lancet just last week, this piece was published about the challenges of accessing insulin around the globe. Why is this drug still so unattainable to so many? Why has access to insulin not had a high priority within agencies such as the UN and WHO?
Why are children and adults still dying when there is a medication available?
I am so angry and sad and desperate that this is the situation and while I am pleased that we are starting to increase the conversation about the unfairness of it, it’s just not enough.
Where is the outrage here? We get angry and feel vilified when someone doesn’t understand the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or because some celebrity dared to say something stupid about diabetes, and we retreat online and complain and bitch and moan. We say that we feel stigmatised and isolated and misunderstood.
And it’s true. Diabetes is stigmatising and isolating. People don’t understand the details. It’s downright, bloody unfair.
But we are not going to die because we can’t get our hands on a bottle of insulin. Perhaps we need to channel some of our oh-so-easy-to-access outrage and frustration at an issue that can actually save some lives.
A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in some countries is a death sentence, plain and simple. And a quick one at that.
And this isn’t okay.
You will see a lot about Spare a Rose this week. I am not going to apologise about it. But you may also like to have a look at Type 1 International and the important work they are doing in this space too.