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Diabetes: childhood without breaking knees. BLOG by Oleksandr Vyshniakov, the director of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center


November 14 is the World Diabetes Day. This disease changes the life of anyone, regardless of age and status, forever. Children suffer from it with increasing frequency. Diabetes mellitus is the most common non-infectious disease in the world. According to WHO, 3% of the world population are sick with it, and 10 to 20% of the total are children.

Since 2013, the incidence of diabetes has been growing in Ukraine. Doctors pay attention to the fact that the diagnosis is growing younger. The especially high incidence rate is among children under 6 years old, whereas it always used to be teenagers who suffered from the disease. There were 8,629 children under the age of 17 suffering from diabetes in 2013 in Ukraine, and now (excluding the Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions) they are 8,846 already. This is the main children's endocrinologist’s of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health data.

Constant observations, strict diet, dependence on expensive medicines are the daily routine of these young citizens.

The largest share of the people sick with diabetes accrued to the east of Ukraine. For years on end, the situation has been like that. This is due to a number of negative factors: the state of ecology, atmospheric gas pollution. With the outbreak of the war, the situation became worse. The continuous stress due to military actions and the declining living standards are the new major causes of diseases.

Seven-year-old Nazar, a displaced Alchevsk resident, has been fighting diabetes for a year. He gets tired fast even when he walks. The boy was diagnosed when he was checked-into to the intensive care unit.

Nazar’s life, just like the thousands’ of such children lives, depends on insulin and the availability of visual blood glucose test strips to monitor blood sugar level 24/7. Why are they necessary? Because an adult can feel this level, and the child can not.

Nazar's parents were among those who contacted Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center hotline asking to help with the test strips. Of course, the Center responded, and along with that a large-scale problem was identified - most families in the region do not have the ability to monitor their diabetic-child’s health condition. Test strips are either unobtainable or unaffordable. One child’s monthly need is 100+ sets.

According to the "Targeted Assistance" specialists’ monitoring, children with diabetes, epilepsy and asthma found themselves in a critical situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. To get free medications, parents need to leave the ATO zone and make a long way of the new registration on the controlled territory.

To help the families with sick children, the Center’s project "Medications for Children" has been in action for two years already, supporting Donbas children with vital test strips, anticonvulsants and anti-asthmatics. We were able to help 1255 children, from toddlers to 14-year-old schoolchildren. During the project, more than 3,300 medication sets were issued. More detailed information on who and how to get assisted with medications can be obtained from the Center’s website or by the hotline number: 0-800-509-001.

The cause of the little Nazar’s illness is still unknown. He has diabetes mellitus type 1. Limited physical activity, insulin injections, strict diet - the boy bravely tolerates everything and dreams of inventing a new medication to cure himself and other children.