What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a life-threatening but easily manageable condition where the individual’s pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, and therefore the glucose (sugar) level in their blood is too high. There are different types of diabetes and both are managed by the individual taking or injecting insulin at regular intervals. See www.diabetes.co.uk for more information about the condition.
If diabetes isn’t properly managed, what are the risks?
If individuals do not manage their diabetes properly, they are at risk of infections, sores, blindness, stunted growth and ultimately diabetic coma. Sadly, many individuals in developing world countries do not have access to a reliable or affordable source of insulin and suffer these side effects or even death.
What are the statistics?
It is unclear how many children die every year in developing countries from diabetes as the condition is widely misunderstood and it is believed that many die undiagnosed every year. However, it is assessed that worldwide at least 80,000-100,000 children’s lives are at risk from lack of access to insulin, and the average life expectancy of a child who has developed diabetes in the poorest areas is under a year.
Why does The Pendsey Trust focus on providing education, if what is needed most is access to insulin?
We aim to support the work of other charities like www.idf.org/lifeforachild and www.dreamtrust.org by providing education for those with diabetes. The aim is that one day these individuals will be able to get jobs which will enable them to pay for their medication and even give money back to support others with the condition. In many countries, those with diabetes are subject to a huge amount of stigma, and holding a respected job in society helps them counteract this. However, our constitution states that if lack of access to medication is preventing these individuals participating in education, we will help them with the cost of their medication as well.