On Wednesday, November 14, the world commemorates World Diabetes Day on the birthday of Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin more than 90 years ago.
While a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) continues to elude us for the time being, no one denies that technological advances since the discovery of insulin in 1921 have saved countless lives and made life better and easier for those who not only survive, but thrive with T1D. While research and development continue to bring life-saving technologies and medicines to market, the importance of making essential medicines, especially insulin, widely available to those who need them around the world, cannot be underestimated.
Thousands of children in the developing world are suffering and facing death because they do not have access to treatment. One small but growing program of the International Diabetes Federation(IDF) is working tirelessly to save the children of the world who are living with T1D.
Life for a Child, with the help of grants, corporate support and individual donations, distributes life-saving insulin to 10,000 children in 39 developing countries around the world. However, they estimate between 80,000 and 100,000 are in still need, and the IDF seeks to expand their reach throughout the world until no child dies from the lack of insulin.
Inspired by this amazing and much-needed effort, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Diabetes Companies is proud to partner with the IDF to provide blood glucose meters and strips, critical to the safe introduction of insulin and good diabetes self-management. Over the next 12 months, LifeScan, Inc., will donate one million test strips and 1,300 meters to help children and their families in Nepal, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Guyana, Mali, Guatemala, and Sri Lanka.
Through Life for a Child, we could end death among children with diabetes due to the lack of essential medicines next year, next month or even next week. While a cure for diabetes is not within our reach today, the ability to save thousands of lives certainly is. Together, we can help end death by diabetes among children around the world — at least those caused by the lack of insulin, testing supplies and self-management education.
To learn more about Life for a Child and how you can help, please visit www.lifeforachild.org.
Charles Renfroe is the Director of Diabetes Advocacy & Alliances, Johnson & Johnson Family of Diabetes Companies