The importance of education in overcoming the challenge of diabetes

Sanofi’s KiDS program expands to more countries

November 14 marks the 28th edition of World Diabetes Day, a unique occasion for Sanofi and its partners to strengthen their commitment facing this disease and to raise awareness of this global epidemic.

Diabetes continues to grow as a serious global health care challenge. There has been a sharp increase in the incidence of diabetes in every region of the world: There are an estimated 450 million people living with diabetes, and the disease is responsible for 12% of global health expenditures, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

This year’s World Diabetes Day on November 14 is dedicated to illuminating the challenges of women with diabetes, including the need for better education and care. Not only does it affect the daily lives of millions of women, diabetes also is the ninth leading cause of death for women worldwide, claiming 2.1 million lives every year.

One of the most significant effects diabetes has on women is during pregnancy and childbirth. About 40 percent of women with diabetes are of child-bearing age, and for them the disease has the potential to lead to miscarriage, premature birth, and birth defects, especially with women with type 1 diabetes. Gestational diabetes affects one in every seven births, and half of those mothers will herself develop Type 2 diabetes within a decade.

The environment of people living with diabetes is an essential piece contributing to their wellness and improved quality of life. It’s important to recognize that women also hold the keys to helping to reduce the effects of diabetes for themselves and their children. Because they are primary caregivers, they are in the best position to establish healthy lifestyles for their family. Regardless of the type of diabetes, because women are quite often the primary caregivers, they are in the best position to establish healthy lifestyles for their family, starting with their children at the younger age.

As a leader in diabetes commited to sustainable solutions that improves the lives of people with diabetes everywhere, Sanofi is expanding the Kids and Diabetes in School (KiDS) program, part of Sanofi’s Access Accelerated Initiative. This educationnal program, developped with the IDF and the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD), aims to foster supportive school environement that creates a better understanding of diabetes. It provides a toolkit for teachers, school nurses and other staff, school children (6-14 years old) and their parents. It is intended to help children with diabetes manage their disease, as well as combat the stigma that often comes with it. It also seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of healthy diets and physical activity to help prevent children from developing Type 2 diabetes.

The toolkit is available in nine languages and so far has reached 45,000 children and 4,800 teachers in India, Brazil, Pakistan and UAE. The program is being expanded this year to countries where the incidence of the disease is raising fastest, such as Poland and Egypt.

The evaluation conducted in India and Brazil reports an overall improvement in meal quality and access to healthy food choices, with some schools also taking steps to prohibit the consumption of junk food. They also found that anxiety levels of both parents of children with diabetes and teachers decreased, with emergency calls to parents becoming less frequent, and levels of confidence in the school environment increasing.

The ultimate aim is to achieve sustainable change in those countries, working closely with partners and policymakers to introduce education around diabetes and healthy living habits in the national teachers’ curriculum.

November 14th also marks the start of a campaign on social networks: sharing stories will be kick-started through a Twitter campaign where the “T1D Challenge ambassadors” invite and encourage people with diabetes, parents and carers to take action. Sharing their stories contribute to the people’s feeling that they are not facing this disease alone and empower them to live the life they want despite diabetes.

Because everyone has a story to tell about diabetes, because everyone matters, it is of particular importance for this World Diabetes Day, to take action for diabetes.

Do you know the T1D Challenge?

– Sport Challenge created in 2013 in partnership with Sanofi
– To bring together an international team of people living with type1 to realize a sporting challenge. For the 1st edition, 12 people living with diabetes from 7 countries climbed Kilimanjaro
– Objective: to demonstrate that “everything is possible together despite diabetes”.