Uniting to fight type 2 diabetes

As we have already reported, representatives of the Ukrainian Diabetes Federation Anatoliy Tsarenko and Olena Chernenko took part in the meeting of the Platform for People with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), which was held by the International Diabetes Federation in Brussels. The goal of the T2D Platform is to ensure that the voice of the community of people with type 2 diabetes is heard to help raise their awareness, promote their participation in diabetes-related projects, help reduce stigma around T2DM, and support each other. The participants of the T2D Platform, most of whom were people living with diabetes, represented more than 30 countries. The main activities of the T2D Platform are participation in scientific panels, meetings with policy makers to discuss diabetes policy or participate in online social media campaigns, to discuss ways to overcome barriers that hinder people with T2D, and to develop a curriculum for advocacy training.
"Patients are experts in their condition. It is patients who often find and communicate new information to healthcare professionals.

A doctor deals with diabetes for part of his working time and part of his life – even if he is a diabetologist. The patient lives with his diabetes every moment, without a break, for the rest of his life.

Each type 2 diabetes disease is unique. Several patients with formally the same diagnosis may have, in fact, different diseases – in terms of clinical course, necessary therapy, complications, impact on quality of life, prognosis. Of course, this is true for many nosologies, but it is in the case of type 2 diabetes mellitus that it manifests itself extremely vividly.

Diabetologists who live with their own diagnosis of diabetes are a special category of health workers who are potentially able to connect two worlds: the patient and the doctor. There were several such participants in the working group, and their role was emphasized.

I suggested introducing the term DwD, i.e. Doctor Living with Diabetes, into the IDF's working communication in addition to the well-known PwD. In the case of a chronic disease, this matters.

The T2 Diabetes Platform working group of the International Diabetes Federation was attended by participants from more than 30 countries, and to a large extent these were people living with diabetes.

And many have expressed the opinion that there is a big difference between the availability of medical and other diabetes care, between the availability of access for people and the situation as a whole. "Our country is VERY heterogeneous," the participants said, "and that's the problem!"

I listened and thought that their "heterogeneity" is NOTHING compared to how Ukraine lives. Today, it is impossible to equalize the conditions (many significant conditions!) in which medical institutions operate in the western, central and southeastern regions.

Is this difference something that needs to be overcome and smoothed out as much as possible (in particular, by the same requirements for contracting), or what should be taken into account in the establishment of health policies? What do you think?

Olena Chernenko, public figure, Healthcare Development Advisor at CheckEye, Founder &CEO at Ukrainian Medical Alliance and MedCapitalGroup

Partly reflecting the stigma often associated with type 2 diabetes, and perhaps partly due to the demographics of the group of people with type 2 diabetes, people living with T2DM are underrepresented and involved in advocacy activities, general research projects, and other programs. To remedy this and complement the YOURAH group, IDF Europe has launched a platform for people living with T2DM and other types of diabetes in Europe who are interested in representing the voice of people living with diabetes in advocacy initiatives, as well as participating in other projects, such as EU-funded projects. A group of people living with T2DM across Europe has now been identified and the first "consultative" group meeting took place at the end of 2021. The group is currently working on an action plan on how best to engage and engage with the community of people living with T2DM and raise their voices.