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Let’s talk about diabetes education

We’ve been thinking about diabetes education a lot lately – specifically because we’re now in the Top 3 of the DCB Digital Diabetes Innovation Challenge, with our education solution! (We are so excited.) Bridget McNulty explains…

diabetes education in south africa

Diabetes education in South Africa

Sweet Life is all about diabetes education. Since 2020, when we deep dived into the available material and research, we’ve been trying to find the right solution for South Africa.

Foundational diabetes education building blocks

The first thing that emerged from our research was the need for foundational education building blocks: cohesive diabetes education materials. We have since developed those:

  1. Healthy Food Guide
  2. TEEL tool: Diabetes basics
  3. TIME tool: Type 1 management
  4. Diabetes rights

A diabetes education solution for South Africa

So what’s the solution?

South Africa has 96% WhatsApp penetration. It’s cheap and easy to use, you don’t have to download a special app, and you can access audio messages if literacy is a problem.

Sweet Life has already built a prototype: SA Diabetes Chat.
WhatsApp ‘Hi’ to 087 721 5714 to test it out – or scan this QR code.

SA Diabetes Chat outlines your diabetes rights, in public and private, and then offers diabetes management advice in the form of audio stories from Gcina Mhlophe (South Africa’s favourite storyteller) in English, isiZulu and isiXhosa.

What would you want to see in a diabetes chatbot?

Our big goal for 2024 is to build out this chatbot to be as truly useful as possible. What advice would you want to get from a diabetes chatbot? Please comment below!

Africa Diabetes Chat pitch

We want to take the concept for SA Diabetes Chat one step further by creating Africa Diabetes Chat – a framework that makes it easier to scale this chatbot solution across other African countries.

Check out the not-quite-final pitch that we did for the DCB Innovation Challenge below to find out more…

What to read next?

Let’s talk about diabetes advocacy: Sweet Life co-founder Bridget McNulty unpacks something personal about life with diabetes, this time she opens up about diabetes advocacy….

Diabetes Advocacy training – you’re invited: SA Diabetes Advocacy has recently launched a 4 week Diabetes Advocacy Training course. It’s entirely online and totally free, and they want to empower as many diabetes advocates as they can.

Let’s talk about diabetes stigma: Is it real? Is it worse for people with Type 2 diabetes? What do we do about it, and how do we make it better?

What to read next
Join South Africans with Diabetes on Facebook

Join our diabetes community


  1. Betty Sibeko Betty Sibeko

    I am grateful to have joined the group, and believe that in the end we will all beat diabetes.
    Slowly but surely 🙏

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.