World Diabetes Day: Robert's Story

Today, as the world commemorates “World Diabetes Day” we are reflecting on the achievements in primary health care that 30/30 Project’s partners are accomplishing in their new buildings.  In 2018 alone, our partners have treated around 9000 people with chronic illnesses in the facilities that we built. With proper treatment, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and epilepsy can be managed on a day to day basis. Highlight: Dambe Health Centre, Robert’s Story Robert Thomas is a 22-year-old man who has suffered from epilepsy and Type 1 diabetes for the majority of his life.  He was diagnosed in 2008 and sought treatment at the district hospital before finding his way Partner's in Health's Dambe Health Centre in Neno, Malawi, funded and built by the 30/30 Project and Construction for Change in 2014.  Before Dambe existed, Robert and his mother would journey up to 5 hours by foot to the nearest health clinic, worsening his already weakened state of health for both himself and his mother.  As time went on, Robert’s health was not improving and the financial burden, due to the lack of local free-of-charge healthcare options was only getting worse. It wasn’t until the opening of Dambe Health Centre that Robert received the proper treatment for both his epilepsy and diabetes. The family also have an assigned Community Health Worker (CHW) from the household model which now exists in Dambe’s catchment area. Their assigned CHW frequently visits Robert and his mother to check on his sugar levels, check on the health status of other family members and do health education, accompany them to his visits to Dambe, and help the family with all their health-related concerns.  Robert has seen great improvements in his health, and both him and his mother can live with the reassurance their son is receiving the proper care for his illness. It is stories such as Robert’s that remind us of how important it is for everyone to have access to quality primary health care. Facilities such as Dambe provide access to basic healthcare and empower communities to create a more aware, educated environment.  When it comes to chronic diseases such as diabetes, we are amazed by the incredible work our partners, like PIH, do to provide quality, life-saving healthcare around the world.