Today's guest blog comes from Dr. Laxmikant Palo, Regional Director of Project HOPE in India (pictured at left).
We all are well acquainted with the burden of type 2 diabetes, which accounts for a great share of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) overall. But what about the lesser known type 1 diabetes?
To draw greater attention and action to addressing both conditions, the 2015 Lilly NCD Partnership Summit recently took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil. It was an awe-inspiring event that answered my concerns, and my worries suddenly felt feather-like!
Let me first share my concerns: The number of children developing type 1 diabetes every year is increasing rapidly. A person with type 1 diabetes needs to follow a structured self-management plan, including insulin use, blood glucose monitoring, physical activity and a healthy diet. In low-income setups, access to self-care tools—including self-management education and insulin—is too often limited. This can lead to severe disability and early death in children with diabetes.
During a field visit in Brazil, I witnessed some great work done in the Lilly NCD Partnership that once again underpins the strength of collaborative efforts to influence global NCD policies. The Institute for Children with Diabetes (ICD) has pioneered a comprehensive care model. It includes innovative yet simple training and educational tools for rooting the concept of type 1 diabetes management in children, adolescents and their families. The goal is to help these children become more involved in their treatment and significantly reduce acute hospitalizations and chronic complications of diabetes.
Unfortunately in India we lack such robust tailor-made care models catering to the type 1 population. Even so, I am highly optimistic that learnings and findings from the ICD model—and others best practices we saw during the summit—can provide long-lasting solutions to the problem of diabetes in Indian youngsters.