“Our association has trained over 300 caregivers who can empower other community leaders and ensure their support groups are effective. We have also led an initiative to train a total of 48 rural health motivators in five chiefs in the Shiselweni area and USA Another group of 20 rural health motivators was trained in the Lubombo region.
WHO / Daniel Toro
Lack of medication
Although the lockdown had a negative impact on our business operations, we managed to visit health centers across the country and we soon found that most of the rural clinics did not have relevant and adequate medication. So we pushed for more of it to be made available and worked closely with the clinic’s Ministry of Health.
We have also been in close contact with the United Nations: the UN country team in Eswatini has stepped up efforts to help the government obtain adequate supplies of medical supplies in health facilities in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the World Health Organization (WHO) ) helped the Diabetes Association Eswatini develop informational and educational materials and helped us communicate a variety of critical topics such as nutrition, coping mechanisms and prevention.
WHO / Daniel Toro
Creating opportunities out of the COVID crisis
When I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, I didn’t know how to deal with my condition and no help was available. I was in a coma for three days and when I woke up I told myself I was going to learn everything there was to be learned about this disease. Since then, nothing has stopped me from going the extra mile to fulfill my purpose: spreading my knowledge and helping other diabetics. Not even COVID-19.
During this time of economic crisis, we are also helping people with diabetes improve their livelihoods. For example, I mobilized a group of women in my community to start a textile and craft business. I’ve been fortunate enough to successfully convince local textile companies to donate waste materials to us that we recycle to make many useful products that we then sell to the community, including face masks, soaps, and disinfectants.
And we have other plans to help unemployed young people earn a living: A branch of the association in Shiselweni in the south of the country has started a project to set up a vocational center that will give them the skills they need.
We need to create a stronger health system to meet the needs of people with diabetes. There is a lot to do if we want to have a healthier future in Eswatini: we need to invest more in prevention, early detection, screening, treatment and rehabilitation. “