Diabetes has become a major threat to health on a global scale. The spread of the disease and the medico-socio-economic burden it places on societies will continue to represent a major challenge in the decades ahead.
When Eshaan was 12, he was diagnosed with diabetes following routine blood and urine tests for a swimming team. The shock was great. “Having to do the daily injections was terrible. I had to bring my vials, insulin and syringe to school and find somewhere quiet. I was also the first to have type 1 diabetes, so the teachers weren’t educated about the problems I faced,” says Eshaan now 19 and an engineering student in Pune, India.
India is facing a particularly acute diabetes problem, with more than 72 million cases in 2017, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Sanofi is a partner of the national network of Apollo Sugar Clinics, which provide detection, treatment and advice on diabetes. An estimated 387 million people around the world live with diabetes, a chronic non-communicable condition that if unmanaged can lead to serious health conditions. These include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, eye diseases including blindness, nerve damage and lower-extremity amputation. In developed countries, diabetes is already one of the leading causes of mortality. However the global rise is driven by its growing prevalence in low- and middle-income countries, where three quarters of people with diabetes live. Diabetes places a major burden on economies, with global healthcare expenditure on diabetes reaching $727 billion in 2017, representing 12% of the world’s total healthcare expenditure. Spending in emerging countries will outstrip those of developed nations in the coming decades, because of unhealthy changes in eating habits and a decrease in physical activity.
To support diabetes care, Sanofi takes part in numerous initiatives around the world. These include the International Diabetes Management Practices Study (IDMPS), the largest observational study of adult diabetes care in the developing world. The findings of the study have shed light on many aspects of diabetes practices, from care management to education, resource consumption, and barriers to insulin. Sanofi is also contributing to the “Be healthy, Be mobile” initiative led by WHO and International Telecommunication Union, which focuses on using mobile technology to improve prevention and treatment in low- and middle-income countries. This Diabetes program features targeted SMS messages to raise awareness on the disease, help in the diagnosis and provide access to training for health workers. Another example is the Kids and Diabetes in Schools (KiDS) Project in Brazil, Egypt, India, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates, which aims to foster a safe, supportive school environment for children with diabetes and raise awareness of diabetes and the benefits of healthy diets and physical activities among school-age children.
Eshaan Shevate showed how well people can live with the disease when he participated in the Sanofi and World Diabetes Tour’s Type 1 Challenge to Macchu Pichu in Peru. “It was magical, and when we reached the finish line, we almost forgot about the hardship to get there,” he says. “For me, it was a golden opportunity to realize my true potential. With the proper diabetes treatment and management, anything is possible.”
Kids and Diabetes in Schools (KiDS)
Schools play an important role in providing a supportive environment for children with diabetes. However, for this to happen, school teachers and other children need to understand the specific requirements of children suffering from diabetes in order to provide the right level of support and avoid isolation, stigma and discrimination. In addition, educating teachers, children and their parents about the importance of a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to help prevent young people from developing type 2 diabetes.
Sanofi co-created the Kids and Diabetes in School (KiDS) project with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD).
The KiDS project is an educational program around the Global “KiDs” Toolkit, which is primarily targeted at teachers, school nurses, school children (6–14 years old) and their parents. A nutrition focused module was recently developed as a complementary resource to the existing toolkit to inform teachers, parents of children with diabetes, as well as parents and children generally, of the important role of nutrition in the management and prevention of diabetes.
Through the culturally adapted KiDS toolkit, currently available in 13 languages and training sessions, the program aims to foster a safe and supportive environment in schools for children with diabetes, and encourage the adoption of good healthy habits from an early age.
Since its launch, the KiDs program has been implemented in 175 schools globally including Brazil, Egypt, India, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, United Arab Emirates, and has educated 60,000 children and 8,000 teachers and school staff. The initiative is soon to launch in Hungary.
The ultimate goal is to achieve sustainable change in those countries and we are working closely with our partners and policy makers to introduce education around diabetes and healthy living habits in the national teachers’ curriculum.
The program is part of Sanofi commitment to Access Accelerated1, a unique cross-industry collaboration that seeks to reduce barriers to prevention, treatment and care for non-communicable disease in lower- and middle-income countries.
- Sanofi commitment: http://www.manoranjaninc.com/en/our-responsibility/healthcare-for-all/serving-the-needs/ - accessed June 13, 2018 - More on Access Accelerated: https://accessaccelerated.org/ - accessed August 29, 2018