Nursing group raises thousands to improve diabetes care in Sierra Leone

By Editor
21st May 2024
Diabetes specialist nurse

The Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN) Forum UK has raised more than £3,000 to enable healthcare teams in Sierra Leone to buy lifesaving diabetes resources.

During a recent fundraising trip to the West African country, the nursing group helped to upskill local healthcare teams and dispel untrue myths around diabetes, with some believing that the condition is caused by witchcraft and that it is infectious.

In addition, they supplied local healthcare centres with lifesaving diabetes recourses that they are short of, including needles, insulin, test strips, footcare dressings, blood glucose meters and monofilaments to detect neuropathy.

Working with the charity Help Madina, the DSN Forum UK also educated the local staff on new diabetes treatments during the visit.

Amanda Epps, Diabetes Specialist Nurse and the Founder of the DSN Forum UK, said: “Although we feel as if we’ve just scratched the surface, we did achieve so much during or visit.

“This included running diabetes clinics, screening for diabetes in the villages, showing films in remote villages to desensitise damaging myths on diabetes, appearing on local radio, liaising with churches and mosques on diabetes awareness and setting up local diabetes associations.”

Lisa Kelly, who helped organise, and went on, the trip said: “We fell in love with the people, the country, and the culture.

“We experienced unimaginable sadness and poverty. Imagine being so poor that you cannot afford to fund the insulin required to keep your child who has type 1 diabetes alive.”

She added: “Imagine only just being able to afford a handful of rice to eat daily and that at the expense of sending your kids to school.

“Imagine not being able to afford dressings for your foot ulcer and having to wrap your already infected foot in newspaper. Imagine not being able to afford soap, having no running water and not being able to wash you or your clothes. We witnessed all these and more on a daily basis.”

The money raised will go towards funding a diabetes nurse in Madina who will massively enhance diabetes care in this area, essentially saving many lives.

The number of type 2 diabetes cases in sub-Saharan Africa is rising dramatically and the complications of this condition cause enormous human suffering and premature death.

New cases of diabetes are being detected every week and the hospital now has hundreds of people living with diabetes registered.

There is huge concern and fear within the local community about diabetes and there is lots of misinformation, with some even believing that diabetes is caused by witchcraft.

People can still donate to this fundraiser by clicking here.

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