Blog Action Day: Poverty and Diabetes
Diabetes doesn’t care who you are.
Diabetes doesn’t care how old or how young you are. Diabetes doesn’t care where you were born or where you live. It doesn’t care if you are American, Kenyan, Brazilian or Australian. Diabetes doesn’t care how fat or skinny you are. Diabetes doesn’t care if you are needlephobic, a chocoholic or really bad at math. Diabetes doesn’t care if you have a job or are unemployed. Diabetes doesn’t care if you have health insurance. Diabetes doesn’t care if you live a hundred miles away from the nearest doctor.
Diabetes doesn’t care how much money it costs just to stay alive. It doesn’t care about co-pays and deductibles. It doesn’t care about rising costs for healthy food. It doesn’t care if you’re a single mom or don’t speak English. It doesn’t care about the shortage of good doctors in rural areas.
It just doesn’t care.
Today is Blog Action Day and the topic for this year is Poverty. Poverty affects billions of people around the world. In a 2007 survey by the International Diabetes Federation, there is an estimated 440,000 children in the world with type 1 diabetes, and about half of these live in developing countries (with 92,000 in India alone). The life expectancy of children who live in these countries are anywhere from a few months to a couple of decades. Thousands of children cannot afford insulin or their testing supplies, which makes it impossible to manage blood sugar. Even in the United States, those living below the poverty level, who are without insurance because they are without a job, face staggering costs of insulin and tests strips, which can costs hundreds of dollars in a single month.
What can you do?
The International Diabetes Federation created a program to help children living in poverty in the developing countries called Life for a Child. The money goes to purchasing insulin, syringes, glucose meters, test strips and provide diabetes education and A1C testing for children in 17 developing countries. I just donated $5.00 and if we all donated $5.00 to help a child with diabetes living in poverty, think of how much longer that child could live.
But IDF isn’t the only organization helping those in need with diabetes. Insulin for Life, based in Australia, is another great organization doing their part to bring insulin to those who can’t afford it. Insulin for Life collects unused insulin and diabetes supplies that would otherwise be thrown out. There is also an Insulin for Life center based in Oklahoma, at the Oklahoma Diabetes Center. Visit their website to find out more about their organization and to donate to help make sending supplies a little more affordable. Their website says that for every $1 they receive, they are able to send $20 worth of supplies. Wow!
Diabetic Rockstar is a new organization that is pitching in to help uninsured people with diabetes. Find out more about their organization and how to send money or supplies.
Call to Action
Blog Action Day 08 has a long list of ways that you can help eradicate poverty. It’s crucial that we take steps to solve this problem, because poverty is not just about going hungry. It’s not just about being unemployed. It isn’t even about lack of health insurance. It’s about quality of life. It’s about giving people the opportunity to make a difference in the world and to live out their dreams, just like we can. There are 3 billion people who are living below the poverty line. Half our world.
I hope this post and the others that you read today encourage you to support someone who needs help, whether that person does or does not have diabetes. Even if you don’t send in a donation today for whatever reason, my last call to action is for all of us to realize just how damn lucky we are to have jobs, a roof over our heads, access to life-saving medication, the ability to purchase to nutritious food, and to log onto the Internet everyday where we can learn and support each other.
Very lucky indeed.