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Update on the FreeStyle Libre petition

Late last year the Diabetic South African community started a petition. The first time people with diabetes in SA all united for a single cause: to empower diabetics to control their blood sugar by covering the FreeStyle Libre on SA medical aids.

Why a Freestyle Libre petition? Because the Libre is the most affordable CGM currently on the market: R1980 a month with no upfront costs. That’s still far beyond what most people can afford, and at present it isn’t covered at all by medical aids. Hopefully that’s about to change… The end result we’re aiming for is a ‘diabetes tech’ amount as part of the PMB (Prescribed Minimum Benefits) bundle for people with diabetes. This amount could be spent on the FreeStyle Libre or to cover any CGM you choose.

Petition results

We sent the FreeStyle Libre petition to all the major medical aids, and had meetings with Discovery, Momentum and Medscheme. While all three expressed interest, Discovery has since moved forward by meeting with Abbott, the manufacturers of the Libre, and working out a deal. This will either be a pilot to test the project, or access to the Libre if you meet certain requirements – we’re not sure yet.

What is particularly exciting is that Discovery is responding on social media about moving forward with diabetes tech. Take a look below at two Type 1 diabetes advocates on Instagram, and the response they got from Discovery.

Kirsten de Klerk: everydayisdiabetesday

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❌RANT AHEAD ❌⠀ ⠀ I have had what is regarded the ‘luxury’, in South Africa, of using the @freestylediabetes flash glucose monitoring sensor for the last 3 months. They were all received as Christmas gifts from my loved ones. 🎁⠀ ⠀ Yesterday my last sensor ran out and unfortunately after Januworry I most certainly don’t have an extra R990 to spend every 2 weeks on this life changing technology.💰⠀ ⠀ The anxiety was real yesterday and I must admit I felt a bit uninspired all over again. I must have pricked my finger around 16 times in one day because it was strange and unsettling not knowing what my sugar level was or where it was going. 📈⠀ ⠀ I was stuck in traffic for an hour and learned how difficult and dangerous it is to try and focus on driving while pricking your finger and trying to determine where your sugar is. It is actually illegal to drive if you are under 5 in SA, your brain needs sugar to function and therefore driving can’t be considered safe if you are under 5.🚗⠀ ⠀ I suffered a high last night because I could not see that my sugar levels were rising after dinner. 📈⠀ ⠀ I’ve learnt how valuable and imperative it is for Type 1 diabetics to have more data on their sugar levels, it enables us to make more informed decisions, to reduce highs and lows, to increase our time in range and overall to improve our A1C levels and lower the risks of the long term complications of diabetes. ✅⠀ ⠀ In South Africa I know that this technology is a luxury, a privilege to have. But I hope one day in the near future that it becomes affordable and accessible to all that are trying to manage diabetes. 🙏🏻

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Emma Allen: emz_allen

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As a Type 1 Diabetic, and after 13 years of +-4 finger pricks a day (about 19 000 finger pricks so far in my life), this device is absolute heaven. A tiny little machine which many have mistaken for a smoking patch 🚬, which reads my blood glucose levels every 5 minutes! Meet the Freestyle Libre- my new best friend 😍 This device is absolutely unreal and gives me the most accurate vision of what my blood sugars are doing at every point of the day. Being so aware of what my body is doing and how it reacts to certain things (stress, food, exercise, alcohol) is so important for my general health, and to prevent future life threatening complications. Unfortunately there is no simple recipe for a Type 1 Diabetic to keep your sugar levels in range, which is why this device is such a game changer (and a life saver!). The issue is that one of these devices, which lasts for 2 weeks, costs R1000- which means an extra R2000 a month to essentially live as normally as possible. This is a huge extra cost, and definitely not one that I (nor other Type 1 Diabetics) can afford on top of other medical expenses! Discovery does not cover this, nor does any other medical aid. I- alongside many others- am trying to change this. Please click the link in my bio, and sign the petition to help me make some noise 💙 @freestylediabetes #type1diabetes #freestylelibre

A post shared by Emma Leigh Allen (@emz_allen) on

Response from Discovery: discovery_sa

We are holding fingers and thumbs that we can soon report on a positive outcome and that Discovery chooses to be the industry leader in diabetes in South Africa. Watch this space!

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  1. […] below and join in! Diabetes advocacy is something we’re passionate about at Sweet Life: our FreeStyle Libre petition last year linked directly to this issue. It’s only when we join our voices together as people […]

  2. I would please like to immediately join this cause and any possible petition to make Freestyle Libre sensors fully covered and part of the PMBs on medical aids. I would also like to go as far as to say that it should then be covered from the chronic benefit and not from a person’s Medical Savings Account.

  3. […] Update on the FreeStyle Libre petition: For the first time people with diabetes in SA all united for a single cause: to empower diabetics to control their blood sugar by covering the FreeStyle Libre on SA medical aids. […]

  4. Emmie Palmer Emmie Palmer

    Saving lives, that is what continuous monitoring does. Saving lives and preventing emergency admissions. It gives the patient and the caretakers/ families peace of mind. I do not understand how this is not already protocol for Tipe 1 diabetes patients? We are almost in 2023. What is the current state of affairs?

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.