Someone once told me our children are dying, our future is dying and Type 1 diabetes mellitus is the killer!
Type 1 diabetes mellitus formerly known as “juvenile-onset” diabetes because it was thought to develop mostly in children or young adults but now has been known to affect people of any age.
Prevention they say is better than cure. The most devastating part of type 1 diabetes is that it’s neither preventable nor curable and it affects children more. As a chronic disease with serious consequences, if left untreated, can result in death.
Type 1 diabetes is most likely a polygenic condition with a number of potential environmental risk factors being implicated to include dietary factors, initiation of bovine milk in babies, infectious agents (for example viruses like enterovirus, rotavirus, rubella), chemicals and toxins, —but results have however been inconclusive.
Type 1 diabetes is usually caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defense system attacks the pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
Children with Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin- the hormone that. converts sugar, starch and other food into energy needed for daily life which makes them require daily insulin in order to control blood glucose. Consequently lack of access to insulin will result in complications and might eventually lead to death.
Most children with diabetes may end up developing debilitating complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, diabetes ketoacidosis – a common presentation at the emergency centers in hospitals. All these complications from Type 1 diabetes are devastating for these children, their family, and the health system.
Besides physical problems, children with Type 1 diabetes can experience anxiety and depression from living a restricted lifestyle. They may lose productivity due to school absences because of the development of complications. Changing personal routines can also affect other family members. The physical, social, economic and emotional burden of Type 1 diabetes can’t be underestimated.
Even though diabetes is a serious problem, it is manageable and requires appropriate and timely intervention. Diabetes can be managed as insulin replacement through lifelong insulin injections everyday, following a healthy diet and eating plan, taking regular exercises and monitoring of blood glucose levels regularly.
The management of children living with Type 1 diabetes poses a huge financial burden on their families especially in the developing world. Most families can not afford a continuous availability of insulin for these children resulting in most complications and death.
In view of these challenges, Diablink was created as a platform for advocating for the welfare of Type1 diabetes children and is embedded in and developed from The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community (NGDoc) as a response to the realization of the problems children living with diabetes face or will face upon diagnosis.
Diablink is aimed at the management of emergency cases of Type 1 diabetes where parents can’t afford treatment and subsequently linking Nigerian children living with Type 1 diabetes with others globally, creating pen pal relationships among them, thus creating social peer empowerment for them.
For more information on Type 1 diabetes mellitus in Nigeria you can read our piece on “Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus in Nigeria: rare or not obvious” – here
Until recently funds for the availability of insulin as well as building supportive communities for children with Type 1 diabetes have been generated internally by NGdoc volunteers but we look forward to partnering with interested individuals, corporate organizations and NGOs to help us make this life changing endeavor.
Health is a right not a privilege; let’s build a world that is fit for all children because every child matters.
Partner with us today and together let’s touch lives of those living with diabetes in Nigeria. We can be reached on +234 703 885 5224; +234 812 616 2561 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further discussions.
Dr Foluke Ajose is an NGdoc volunteer and is currently the coordinator of Diablink.