I wrote the post below back in 2016 (original version here). The Lancet had just published a piece about the differences in insulin access around the globe and I was once again astounded and pained by just how difficult it is for some people. 

I wanted to share it again because with the #SpareARose campaign finishing tomorrow, I thought that a reminder of just how dire the situation is for people born with diabetes in some countries was timely – especially for those of you who have been meaning to make a donation to Life for a Child, but just haven’t managed to yet. 

Can you imagine if it was you or your child diagnosed, and that instead of heading to hospital for treatment, and then home again equipped with all the drugs and supplies you needed to manage diabetes, you had been handed nothing but a death sentence? To be honest, I can’t imagine that, because my situation – as with most people reading this blog – was not that. 

Please take a moment to make a donation. It takes USD$5 to provide insulin to a child for a month. (And I promise, this is the last time I’ll be writing about this. At least, for now!)


The life expectancy for a child diagnosed with diabetes in sub-Sahara Africa is as low as one year. That’s right: one year.

This is a fact for 2018, almost 97 years after the discovery of insulin.

And it is just not good enough.

In The Lancet, this piece was published about the challenges of accessing insulin around the globe. Why is this drug still so unattainable to so many? Why has access to insulin not had a high priority within agencies such as the UN and WHO?

Why are children and adults still dying when there is a medication available?

I am so angry and sad and desperate that this is the situation and while I am pleased that we are starting to increase the conversation about the unfairness of it, it’s just not enough.

Where is the outrage here? We get angry and feel vilified when someone doesn’t understand the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or because some celebrity dared to say something stupid about diabetes, and we retreat online and complain and bitch and moan. We say that we feel stigmatised and isolated and misunderstood.

And it’s true. Diabetes is stigmatising and isolating. People don’t understand the details. It’s downright, bloody unfair.

But we are not going to die because we can’t get our hands on a bottle of insulin. Perhaps we need to channel some of our oh-so-easy-to-access outrage and frustration towards an issue that can actually save some lives.

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in some countries is a death sentence, plain and simple. And a quick one at that.

And this isn’t okay.

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