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Diabetic South Africans and sensors: surprising survey results

How many people with diabetes in South Africa use a flash glucose monitor or CGM? What’s stopping them from using one? Those are the questions we wanted to answer with our Diabetic South Africans and sensors survey. The results were surprising.

Diabetic South Africans and sensors

Of the 1,234 people who answered the survey, 41.5% of them said they are currently using sensors to monitor their blood sugar (only about 2 in 5).

Of those, more than half have used the Abbott FreeStyle Libre:

  • 52.74% Abbott FreeStyle Libre
  • 25.78% Dexcom G6
  • 32.7% Medtronic Enlite sensor and Guardian Sensor 3

We asked those who were Discovery members if they had used the CGM Benefit yet, and the majority answered ‘no’ (81.49%). While some of these may have come from non-Discovery members who answered ‘no’ rather than skipping the question, when we asked for clarification why they aren’t using it, the difficulty of claiming due to the co-pay was a large factor.

When asked what would make it easier for Diabetic South Africans to use sensors, an easier claiming process came out as the top response (32.59%) with face-to-face training with a doctor or nurse second in line (23.95%).

One of the biggest problems with the current situation (when it comes to Diabetic South Africans and sensors) is that the cost of sensors is so high. This is true even on the CGM Benefit, because of the co-pay. As a result, many people with diabetes don’t use them continuously. And if you’re not using a flash glucose monitor or CGM continuously, you aren’t getting the full benefit of the data.

What would make it easier to use sensors?

When we asked our survey respondents what could change their mind so that they would use sensors continuously, nearly half cited price or lack of co-pay as the major obstacle. 50.98% of respondents said a cheaper price would motivate them. An additional 29.61% said no co-pay would make them change their mind.

The response, then, is clear. While flash glucose monitors and CGM have the potential to dramatically change the lives of people with diabetes – to let them live #fingerstickfree – Diabetic South Africans need lower prices in order to use sensors to their full capacity.

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  1. Kevin stead Kevin stead

    Fantastic news for patients and health care teams to manage diabetes more effevtly and intervene earlier to prevent cmplications and reduce hospilization stays

  2. Shirley Shirley

    I have received ex Gratia funds from GEMS for my Freestyle Libre sensors but because they are only available from 2 places in South Africa still have to pay a 30 % levy. It appears they are not freely available at pharmacies where we normally get our medication. This is making it difficult to use them continuously.

    • They seem to have the best pricing at CDE Pharmacy, M-Kem and Pharmacy Direct, is that where you get yours from?

What do you think?

Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.