A specialist nurse is raising money for essential supplies to help prevent deaths from diabetes in a formerly war-torn country. Amanda Epps, lead nurse for diabetes with East Kent Hospitals, is joining a group of specialist clinicians on a trip to Sierra Leone in West Africa next month.

The expedition is organised by the Help Madina charity and funded by the Transpetrol Foundation, and Amanda and her colleagues hope to raise £5,000 to pay for equipment and medication.

Amanda said:

“In Sierra Leone, diabetes is an enormous threat to life. Lack of insulin means that the life expectancy of someone who develops Type 1 diabetes is less than one year.

“Before we got involved with the charity, children with Type 1 diabetes would die due to lack of insulin. Now they are linked up with another charity, Life for a Child, who provide everything from insulin to test strips and needles, but we need to educate people about how to manage the condition.

“Insulin is still difficult to get hold of for older people with Type 2 diabetes, and there is huge concern within the local community about diabetes, and a lot of misinformation – some believe it is caused by witchcraft.”

Sierra Leone was wracked by a 20-year civil war, and also badly hit by infectious diseases such as Ebola, cholera and TB. The team, which includes a GP, diabetes podiatrist, and a dietician, will visit four different areas of the country, and two hospitals, to deliver supplies and help educate local leaders on diabetes and issues such as wound care.

Amanda, who lives with Type 1 diabetes, as does her teenage son, said:

“The situation in Sierra Leone is almost unthinkable for those of us lucky to have good access to healthcare, and the drugs and equipment we need to manage diabetes.

“One person used a newspaper to cover a gangrenous foot, which caused widespread sepsis and led to a premature death. The extreme heat and living conditions out there make these situations even more difficult. 

“Any donation really will make a difference to people who are in such need of help. Diabetes is a global concern that the World Health Organisation has highlighted as an evolving catastrophe. The number of cases of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa is rising dramatically and the complications of this condition cause enormous human suffering and premature death.”

Amanda has been donated glucose meters and test strips from supplier Glucorx to take with her for use by older patients. To add to her fundraising, or for more information, visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/dsnforumukhelpmadina

By Ed

©2024 Hawkinge Gazette       -       The Hawkinge Gazette is not responsible for the content of external sites