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Amita’s parents were working overseas when she was diagnosed.
A terrifying and overwhelming time, she was in hospital for a week.

In rural Nepal absolute poverty is widespread and, even poorly paid jobs are hard to find.

Amita’s parents had to leave their village to work as labourers in Dubai. Every month they would send their wages home to Amita’s grandfather to provide for the whole extended family. They had been out of the country for nearly a year when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Santosh said that when Amita arrived in hospital:

‘‘She was limp with exhaustion, doubled over with stomach pain and vomiting every five minutes. Her Aunt was visibly shaken with worry as she sat by her hospital bed, however she managed to calmly explain Amita’s recent symptoms. It was the usual story – tiredness, weight loss, thirst, and as soon as she mentioned Amita’s Grandfather had noticed ants were attracted to her urine, my suspicions were confirmed: this little girl was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).’’

Ants were attracted to Amita’s urine, indicating the presence of glucose.

When blood glucose levels rise, the kidneys will make their best effort to get rid of the excess and expel it in the urine. DKA is caused, in part, by high blood glucose levels over a period of time. It is a serious and dangerous condition and, if not treated quickly, can lead to death.

Dr. Santosh said, ‘‘She really was in a bad way, it was hard to stabilize her, even with high doses of insulin.’’

Amita’s Aunt Nisha was in a state of shock.

Dr. Santosh continues: ‘‘I explained what a type 1 diagnosis would mean for Amita, but she couldn’t understand as she was so overwhelmed. She was trying to protect her niece in the absence of her parents, but felt powerless with the overload of information. After a couple of days things settled down, and I taught them the basics of diabetes management, gave them a blood glucose meter and strips, and showed them how to give insulin injections. Although Amita was still very nervous, I saw her Aunt grow in confidence in using all the equipment, and eventually it was time for them to go home!’’

Amita’s Mom and Dad have now returned from their jobs abroad. Life is tough and money is tight, but the family is together. Dad drives a buffalo drawn tractor in the local village.

Dr. Santosh said, ”Amita comes to visit me every two months to collect her supply of insulin and test strips, and is doing well. The great news is that, despite having a lot of time out of school to come to the hospital, she is near the top of her class and dreams of becoming a teacher herself’’.

Diabetes couldn’t keep Amita from her love of learning.

You can help a child like Amita manage her diabetes so she can follow her dreams. For just $1 you can provide insulin, test strips and diabetes education – Just complete the simple and secure donation form below.

Acknowledgements

Life for a Child would like to gratefully acknowledge the wonderful work of the Diabeter team from Rotterdam in the Netherlands: Dr Per Winterdijk (Paediatric Endocrinologist), Simone Huijbers (Diabetes Educator), Tanja Lappenschaar (Dietitian), Ronald Wagenaar (Photographer) and Johan de Waal (Editor).

While on their second trip to Nepal on behalf of Life for a Child, the team visited five of the Life for a Child-supported centres, providing the young people, and their families with diabetes education, encouragement and fun. They also developed a video documenting their travels around the country, and presented this to great effect at the recent Life for a Child update meeting, during the 43rd ISPAD Conference in Innsbruck, Austria. They also donned T-shirts promoting the programme, sharing their enthusiasm and passion for all they do for Life for a Child and the children and young people with diabetes, and their families in Nepal.

Life for a Child would also like to acknowledge the dedicated work of Dr. Santosh and his team in Nepal. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to supporting young people with diabetes.

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