Improving access to diabetes care for children in Cameroon

In June, Novo Nordisk and the Minister of Public Health in Cameroon announced a partnership to address the needs for children with diabetes in Cameroon. The project is part of the Novo Nordisk Changing Diabetes® in Children programme which was launched in 2008.

Addressing urgent needs

With life expectancy for a child with type 1 diabetes in much of sub-Saharan Africa typically being less than one year, there is an urgent need to provide appropriate diabetes care while building the capacity in the health care system to sustain the care in the longer-term.

At present, only two clinics in the Cameroon, Yaoundé Central Hospital and Douala General Hospital, are able to offer good quality care to children living with diabetes. For many families in Cameroon and other developing countries, having a child diagnosed with diabetes can bring an overwhelming financial and emotional burden.

Children living with diabetes in developing countries are faced with numerous barriers to diabetes care: lack of trained personnel, lack of infrastructure and difficulties for patients or the family to pay for treatment (insulin, syringes and strips). These may lead to misdiagnosis, poor management, early complications and premature death of children. The Changing Diabetes® in Children programme aims to address this situation and improve care for these children and lessen the burden on their families.

Partnerships – an important part of the solution

The project in Cameroon is a five-year country project and is a partnership initiative between Novo Nordisk, the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon, Health of Population in Transition, Roche Diagnostics, the World Diabetes Foundation, and the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes.

The project includes the setting-up of dedicated paediatric diabetes clinics for diagnosis and treatment of children with diabetes. Specialised clinics will be created in Yaoundé Central Hospital, Douala General Hospital and in each of the remaining eight regions of Cameroon. Each centre will be responsible for the management and follow up of children with diabetes living in their particular region, while the centre in Yaoundé Central Hospital will serve as the national referral centre. The project will be integrated into the existing National Diabetes Programme (NDP) of the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon.

In addition to basic diabetes care and insulin free-of-charge, the project will provide the enrolled children with blood glucose monitoring supplies (glucometers and strips) in partnership with Roche Diagnostics. Furthermore, the project will organise training of healthcare professionals and provide patient education and children camps to support better self-monitoring. The Programme partners are collaborating to develop material for the training of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators, and education material for children and their families, adapted to the local context and needs.

About the Changing Diabetes® in Children programme

Treating diabetes in children is not the same as treating diabetes in adults. In developing countries, there is often a general lack of understanding of diabetes and the burden it represents to a child, the child's family and the community. The Changing Diabetes® in Children programme aims to address the urgent needs of these children by providing support and appropriate diabetes care while building the capacity in the healthcare system to sustain the care in the longer-term.

The Changing Diabetes® in Children programme is part of Novo Nordisk's Access to Diabetes Care strategy and builds on the UN-defined cornerstones in the Right to Health. The Programme is pursuing an initial roll-out in the five sub-Saharan countries Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Conakry, Tanzania and Uganda, and in Bangladesh.

By the end of each five-year project, it is Novo Nordisk's aim, that a sustainable cooperation with local partners, including governments and diabetes associations, has created a number of well-functioning diabetes clinics, built on a solid national capacity and general awareness in the field of diagnosis and treatment of type 1 diabetes in children.

Key partners in Cameroon

  • Ministry of Health, Republic of Cameroon
  • Health of Population in Transition (HoPiT) Research Group
  • Yaoundé Central Hospital (YCH)
  • Douala General Hospital (DGH)
  • Roche Diabetes Care (Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd)
  • World Diabetes Foundation

Read about more about our access to health programmes and efforts here