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Let’s talk about the insulin petition

If you’ve been on any of our social media platforms in the last week, you will have heard about the insulin petition. Let’s talk about it…

Read more: Let’s talk about the insulin petition

Please sign the insulin petition!

Before we begin, if you haven’t already signed the insulin petition, please do so now!

Essentially, the National Department of Health has signed a tender saying that insulin pens in public clinics will be replaced with vials and syringes as of 1 May 2024, and we need to raise our voices to say that this is unacceptable.

Insulin vials and syringes are outdated and difficult to use. They contribute negatively to quality of life for people with diabetes, and can result in poor long-term health. SEMDSA (the Society of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa) has written an appeal that we fully support. You can read the details here.

Please sign the SEMDSA Insulin Petition.
As your designation, please put Diabetes Advocate.

Why the insulin petition makes me so mad

Last week, 3 diabetes stories dominated my LinkedIn feed:

1. In the UK, people with Type 1 diabetes have access to the artificial pancreas / hybrid closed loop pumps.

2. In New Zealand, all those with Type 1 diabetes will get fully funded continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps.

3. In South Africa, the government has accepted a tender to replace insulin pens with vials and syringes.

How is this fair? How is it fair that just because of the country we happen to be born in (which we love! I love South Africa so much!) our access is so wildly constrained? It feels as though the gaps between what is available to keep you alive and what is available to help you live a healthy, happy, EASY life with diabetes are just getting wider and wider. And most South Africans are only being offered what they need to stay alive.

It highlights for me (again) that it’s not just different countries we’re in when it comes to access. It feels like different worlds.

insulin petition

Advocacy that effects change

It also reminds me of a conversation that Kirsten de Klerk (co-founder of SA Diabetes Advocacy) and I were having recently. About advocacy that effects change versus advocacy that just creates pretty noise.

We don’t have time to just do pretty noise advocacy in South Africa. There’s too much to be done, and it needs to be done now. If we only have 24 hours in each day (and, sadly, that is all we’re given) then we have to decide how to spend those hours. The few that we can spare for advocacy should be as focused as possible, in my opinion.

Here are the projects that SA Diabetes Advocacy is focusing on for 2024, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start your own advocacy project about something close to your heart! Just let us know so we can connect you and help you collaborate with other diabetes advocates.

How to help

So what can you do to help? Sign the petition. Get everyone you know to sign the petition. This week, we’re reaching out to the media and SEMDSA will send the petition to the Department of Health with all our signatures so that we can turn this decision around.

And if you haven’t yet done the free SA Diabetes Advocacy Training course, sign up for that too!

What do you think? How does this make you feel?

What to read next?

Let’s talk about insulin: What kind of insulin do you use? How does it affect your life? How could better insulin make your life better? And why does the right basal insulin matter? Let’s talk about insulin.

Understanding different types of insulin: Dr Michelle Carrihill from the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic has a simple way of explaining them. Read on to find out more…

Does insulin make you fat?: Understanding insulin, insulin is the most potent and effective treatment for elevated blood glucose levels.

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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.