Breaking the Barriers: Expanding Access to Type 1 Diabetes Care in the Philippines


Breaking the Barriers: Expanding Access to Type 1 Diabetes Care in the Philippines


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To improve the lives of children and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes, Novo Nordisk Philippines, in partnership with Roche Diabetes Care and Humanity & Inclusion, launched the Changing Diabetes in Children (CDiC) program, piloting in Valenzuela City. The program involves a five-year plan that aims to provide comprehensive patient education, strengthen the health workforce, establish a network of clinic facilities, and ensure access to insulin and medical supplies for children and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes.

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that about 5-10% of diabetes cases are Type 1 or juvenile diabetes. This means that thousands of children and young adults are born with the inability to produce their own insulin, causing uncontrolled blood sugar levels and lifetime dependency on insulin treatments.

For thousands of Filipino families with children and young adults living with Type 1 Diabetes, managing this condition is a daily struggle. The lack of financial resources, limited access to essential medications in local communities, and insufficient awareness about the condition have made the fight against Type 1 Diabetes an uphill battle.

Children and young adults born with Type 1 Diabetes need insulin shots or use an insulin pump, along with regular monitoring of their blood glucose to survive and manage their condition every day. The uncontrolled spikes and lows of blood sugar can lead to serious health complications and untimely death if left untreated.

Moreover, the lack of reliable local data on Type 1 Diabetes obscures the true extent of this chronic condition in the country, making it challenging to implement support programs and allocate resources to address the specific needs of this vulnerable population.

The CDiC program aims to change this story and solve these barriers through comprehensive partnerships between the private and public sectors, making diabetes care more equitable to low- and middle-income families.

“Type 1 Diabetes is manageable. No child should suffer or die from this condition,” said Anand Shetty, Corporate Vice President of Novo Nordisk Southeast Asia. “The Changing Diabetes® in Children program can help create this supportive environment for children and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes so they can achieve fulfilling lives despite having this serious chronic condition.”

Through this initiative, children and young adults aged 0-25 with Type 1 Diabetes will have free access to life-saving medicine and medical devices, including insulin, glucose monitoring systems, and medical supplies in their local communities.

“CDiC is a testament to our commitment to improving the lives of people with diabetes, especially the most vulnerable among us – our children. Together with our partners in health, we hope to drive change in diabetes amongst Filipino children and young adults,” said Wei Sun, Vice President & General Manager of Novo Nordisk Philippines.

Aside from free medicines, the program is designed to address the pressing issues in diabetes care in developing countries. Through comprehensive patient education, people living with Type 1 Diabetes and their families are empowered to have more control over diabetes management and know that they matter and can make a difference. The CDiC program also aims to equip      healthcare workers with deeper understanding of Type 1 Diabetes and its management through comprehensive training and resources. By fostering a well-informed community, the program not only improves health outcomes, but builds the confidence and resilience needed to navigate the challenges of living with this condition.

By establishing a network of facilities equipped to diagnose and treat Type 1 Diabetes, thousands of Filipino children will have better access to regular checkups and timely care – a factor that is essential in preventing misdiagnosis and delay in the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes that often leads to premature death.

“Children and young adults are a nation’s future. All of us at Roche are committed to building a sustainable continuum of care together with our partners. We believe that together, we can improve access to essential diabetes care in local communities that will empower children living with Type 1 Diabetes to grow up well and achieve their dreams,” said Bryan Koh, Cluster Head of Asia Emerging Markets, Roche Diabetes Care.

“Through the CDiC program, we will ensure that children with or without disabilities who are living with Type 1 Diabetes have access to essential health information and services,” said Melanie Ruiz, Country Manager of Humanity & Inclusion. “Our goal is to make diabetes care more accessible, addressing barriers in their journey to seeking healthcare, so every child has a fair opportunity to reach their full potential.”

The launch and success of this project in Valenzuela City will be the benchmark for future CDiC programs in different regions of the country. By registering in the program, this act will lay the foundation for future policymaking, efficient resource allocation, and targeted intervention strategies that will further improve the lives of children and young adults living with Type 1 Diabetes in the years to come.

“In Valenzuela City, the health of our constituents is our top priority. We are committed to supporting initiatives that will elevate the lives of our children and young adults regardless of their status in life,” said Wes Gatchalian, City Mayor of Valenzuela. “We want to build a future where no one is left behind, especially when it comes to healthcare.”

More than just a healthcare initiative, Changing Diabetes® in Children is a movement towards a better future for children and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes in the Philippines. By breaking barriers and providing comprehensive support, the program aims to transform the diabetes landscape, one child and young adult at a time.

The CDiC program includes Iloilo and Davao cities together with Valenzuela City throughout the five-year plan. By partnering with different LGUs across the country, the goal is to help local communities adapt their own programs to identify and meet the needs of people with Type 1 Diabetes and other serious chronic conditions in the future.


About Changing Diabetes® in Children (CDiC)

Changing Diabetes® in Children is a public-private partnership established in 2009. The partnership provides comprehensive care for children and young people living with Type 1 diabetes in low- and middle-income countries. This includes free life-saving medicine and supplies for young people with diabetes up to 25 years of age. The programme has to date provided free care to more than 52,000 children and youth living with Type 1 diabetes in low- and middle-income countries. In 2023, the partnership operated in 29 countries, in collaboration with global and local partners. To learn more, please visit the Changing Diabetes in Children programme for children with type 1 diabetes.

About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat serious chronic diseases, built upon our heritage in diabetes. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 63,400 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries.

To learn more about Novo Nordisk’s efforts in increasing diabetes care and management awareness, visit the Novo Nordisk website and follow their official Facebook page.

About Humanity & Inclusion

Founded in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion is an independent and impartial aid organization working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, taking action and bearing witness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. Outraged by the injustice faced by people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, we aspire for a world of solidarity and inclusion, enriched by our differences, where everyone lives in dignity. HI has been working in the Philippines since 1985, delivering aid and services to populations affected by disasters, implementing disaster-risk reduction and climate change adaptation programs, and strengthening inclusive health systems, such as equitable access to diabetes care.

About Roche Diabetes Care

Roche Diabetes Care has been pioneering innovative diabetes technologies and services for more than 40 years. More than 4,500 employees in over 100 markets worldwide work every day to support people with diabetes and those at risk to achieve more time in their target ranges and experience true relief from the daily therapy routines.

Being a global leader in integrated Personalised Diabetes Management (iPDM), Roche Diabetes Care collaborates with thought leaders around the globe, including people with diabetes, caregivers, healthcare providers and payers. Roche Diabetes Care aims to transform and advance care provision and foster sustainable care structures. Under the brands Accu-Chek and mySugr, comprising glucose monitoring, insulin delivery systems and digital solutions, Roche Diabetes Care unites with its partners to create patient-centred value. By building and collaborating in an open ecosystem, connecting devices and digital solutions as well as contextualising relevant data points, Roche Diabetes Care enables deeper insights and a better understanding of the disease, leading to personalised and effective therapy adjustments. For better outcomes and true relief.

Since 2017, mySugr, one of the most popular diabetes management apps, is part of Roche Diabetes Care.

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