Mexico City residents have their blood sugar levels tested in a clinic on Nov. 8, 2017, sponsored by Direct Relief, Asociacion Mexicana de Diabetes, and Baxter International Foundation. The clinics are part of the Driving Your Health Initiative, now in its second year, that seeks to expand care to patients within a 100-mile radius of Mexico City. (Photo by William Vazquez for Baxter International Foundation)

Quick Facts

  • The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.
  • As daunting as the numbers are, the day-to-day realities of living with diabetes in an area without adequate care are far worse. Fortunately, the many health complications related to diabetes can be minimized or eliminated entirely through early detection and changes in daily lifestyle.
  • Direct Relief is providing critical medicines and supplies for patients with diabetes to its network of health facilities around the world.

In Focus

Addressing Diabetes Globally

A women gets her blood glucose levels checked at a pop-up clinic in Mexico City's neighborhood of La Roma by Dr. Eduardo Juarez Oliveros. The clinic was set up by the Association Mexica de Diabetes (AMD) in partnership with Direct Relief. The clinic is aimed at serving populations in the city displaced by the earthquake, especially those with diabetes. (Photo by Meghan Dhaliwal for Direct Relief)
A women gets her blood glucose levels checked at a pop-up clinic in Mexico City’s neighborhood of La Roma by Dr. Eduardo Juarez Oliveros. The clinic was set up by the Association Mexica de Diabetes (AMD) in partnership with Direct Relief. The clinic is aimed at serving populations in the city displaced by the earthquake, especially those with diabetes. (Photo by Meghan Dhaliwal for Direct Relief)

As the global disease burden continues to shift from communicable to non-communicable diseases, type 1 and type 2 diabetes have emerged as major contributors to death and disability worldwide, directly causing an estimated 1.6 million deaths per year.

As daunting as these statistics are, the day-to-day realities of living with diabetes in an area without adequate care are far worse.

Fortunately, the many health complications related to diabetes can be minimized or eliminated entirely through early detection and changes in daily lifestyle.

That is why Direct Relief conducts a range of initiatives to prevent diabetes and help patients manage their condition.

Material Support

People with diabetes must carefully monitor their diet and often spend a significant portion of their monthly income on diabetes-related items such as blood sugar test strips and medications.

To help alleviate this burden, Direct Relief supports community health facilities in the U.S. and globally with insulin and other diabetes-specific medications and supplies that are donated by companies that include BD and Eli Lilly, among others.

Health ProMed Nursing Director Angel Rodriguez, Ruben Bras of the Puerto Rico Primary Care Association and other ProMed staffers quickly load Humulin R insulin into cold storage at the ProMed San Juan clinic. Humulin R is used in emergency situations to stabilize a patient’s blood sugar. The medicines have become critical since the hurricane, with many patients battling stress and limited access to nutritious food. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Health ProMed Nursing Director Angel Rodriguez, Ruben Bras of the Puerto Rico Primary Care Association and other ProMed staffers quickly load Humulin R insulin into cold storage at the ProMed San Juan clinic. Humulin R is used to stabilize a patient’s blood sugar. The medicines from Direct Relief were critical after Hurricane Maria, with many patients battling stress and limited access to nutritious food. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Temperature-sensitive medicines like insulin are shipped to Direct Relief partners inside specialized packaging that maintains a constant temperature range between 35.6-46.4 degrees Fahrenheit for 120 hours.

To ensure and verify that the cold-supply chain has been maintained throughout the transit process, temperature-data loggers are inserted into each package to record the internal temperature of the shipment every two minutes.

Diabetes Camps

Children with diabetes face unique challenges, including in school, which often lacks adequate health care services. As a result, children with diabetes can be excluded from various school activities.

Eligible camps that meet enrollment criteria and abide by the requirements for donated product distribution receive medical supplies and medications free of charge. (Photo by Dayna Murphy/American Diabetes Association Camp)
Eligible camps that meet enrollment criteria and abide by the requirements for donated product distribution receive medical supplies and medications free of charge. (Photo by Dayna Murphy/American Diabetes Association Camp)

Recognizing the importance of helping kids cope with diabetes and the stress it causes, organizations like the Diabetes Education & Camping Association and the American Diabetes Association organize camps to help children manage their condition while enjoying outdoor activities.

Each year, with support from companies including BD and LifeScan, Direct Relief provides medical items such as syringes and sharps containers, lancets, and over-the-counter items to camps for children with diabetes and other chronic medical conditions.

After registering as a Direct Relief partner, camps can access Direct Relief’s online ordering platform and order the items they need.

How to Become a Direct Relief Partner

Health facilities and camps that are interested receiving material support from Direct Relief but are not registered as a Direct Relief partner are encouraged to fill out the form below to begin the application process, and for more information on becoming a Direct Relief partner, click here.

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