Novo Nordisk extends programme for children with diabetes in developing countries

Novo NordiskToday, Novo Nordisk announced a three-year extension of its Changing Diabetes® in Children programme. Since 2009, free insulin and access to diabetes care have been provided to more than 13,000 children in nine countries in Africa and South-East Asia. During the five years, 108 diabetes clinics have been established and 5,479 healthcare professionals have received diabetes care training. A child in sub-Saharan Africa diagnosed with type 1 diabetes often has a life expectancy of less than a year . As a response to this situation and as a call to action by the International Diabetes Federation, Novo Nordisk established the Changing Diabetes® in Children programme.

The idea originated from a visit to a district hospital in Kenya by Lars Rebien Sørensen, CEO of Novo Nordisk. At the hospital, he met a Masai boy diagnosed with type 1 diabetes who had been deserted by his parents at a highway and taken to the hospital by some passers-by. "It became clear to me that this boy had dire perspectives for staying alive," says Lars Rebien Sørensen. "This is obviously hugely disturbing to anyone that has any way of influencing the situation."

In Guinea, almost 400 children have been enrolled in the programme: "Before we had the programme for children with diabetes in Guinea, the situation was very difficult. Many children diagnosed with diabetes had no access to treatment or stopped it because their parents could not afford buying insulin," explains Professor Naby Baldé, project partner at Donka University Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. "It's a great progress for the children and their families; they will no longer have to choose between providing food for the family or treatment of one child."

The Changing Diabetes® in Children programme will run until 2017 in order to consolidate the work that has been done and to strengthen the sustainability of the programme in each country.

About Changing Diabetes® in Children
The programme is run as a private-public partnership between Novo Nordisk, Roche, the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) and the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF). In each country (Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Bangladesh and India), the programme is implemented by a group of local partners with the national Ministry of Health playing a key role to ensure that the programme is anchored within the existing healthcare system.

Being part of the programme means that each child receives insulin free of charge along with strips and a glucometer to measure his blood sugar levels. But since type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition which needs to be monitored closely, insulin does not do it alone. Therefore, patient education for children and families and training of healthcare personnel is an essential part.

About Novo Nordisk
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk employs approximately 41,500 employees in 75 countries, and markets its products in more than 180 countries.