Colin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back in 1967, at the age of 19. The tools of diabetes management weren’t what they are today and he had to use glass syringes to inject his pork insulin, and initially spent time in hospital for his blood glucose to be balanced. Colin started to adjust to this new way of life but was often worried about his levels going too high.
However, he wouldn’t let his diagnosis stop him. At age 22 he graduated from university and soon became a teacher at a local high school. Getting the job wasn’t easy. The Department of Education wasn’t keen on employing a person with diabetes, so Colin had to fight, with the help of his union, to take his place at the school.
The fight was worth it. Colin ended up having a long and influential career teaching maths and physics to young people in his local area and found life-long friends among staff at the school.
In 2001 Colin heard about a small charity called Life for a Child. The charity had been set up to support young people living with type 1 diabetes in low-income countries by providing them with insulin, a blood glucose meter, strips and diabetes education. Colin really felt for these kids and believed in the charity’s vision: no child should die of diabetes. He immediately set up a monthly donation. Colin continued to give a generous gift every month for 15 years, until he passed away in 2016 at age 67.
After his death, his brother Allyn wanted to make sure that Colin’s legacy of compassion would live on. He has donated substantial amounts to Life for a Child in order to provide diabetes care to young people in need in Tanzania and Mali, in memory of Colin.
Life for a Child’s General Manager, Dr Graham Ogle said: “Many families with a child with type 1 in Tanzania can’t afford insulin and supplies. Thanks to the support of wonderful donors like Colin and Allyn, Life for a Child is able to provide them with a lifeline. Their donations are helping young people like Anita (pictured below).”
Anita has been supported by Life for a Child since 2005. With support she has been able to flourish and, today she is doing really well. She is a co-founder of the Tanzanian Diabetes Youth Alliance where she helps other young people dealing with the ups and downs of managing type 1.
There are many ways you can help to provide support for young people like Anita, from fundraising to pledging a bequest and many more. To find out how you can help click here.
We are living in a time where governments are prioritizing policies that ensure their citizens have access to affordable health care. Indeed, even within less-resourced countries, governments are introducing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programs aimed at eliminating the financial burden of health care for the population.
At Life for a Child we aim to ensure that the needs of young people living with type 1 diabetes are included in the development of UHC programs globally.
To understand the current landscape we began a study looking at national service provision, affordability, and availability of insulin and test strips in 37 less-resourced countries, and compared findings to the situation in 7 high-income countries.
We found that whilst some health systems are providing insulin, a proportion are not subsidizing the costs. On the whole, the situation was markedly worse for blood glucose test strips as these were not even provided in most health systems we assessed.
We demonstrated our results through a novel graphic approach, above you can see a table from the paper which shows patterns from the 37 less-resourced countries. Within the whole study information from seven high-income countries were included: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, UK, Sweden, Italy, and France.
We are hopeful that the paper’s findings and discussion will foster much-needed attention towards the lack of national health system provision, affordability, and availability of insulin and test strips in Life for a Child supported countries.
Our vision is to encourage governments to cover these two supplies so that young people with type 1 diabetes can benefit from emerging national UHC programs and go on to live safe, productive, and fulfilling lives.
To download the study click here.
Note: Life for a Child’s research is funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.