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Rohan is a T1D from Australia who is a big believer in sharing as much resources as possible to help bring more education, access and awareness around diabetes for the wider community.
To gain another individualised perspective around how diabetes access can be more inclusive for all, Glucology asked him a series of 8 questions to facilitate in him sharing his experience on how diabetes can be improved. Rohan also takes the chance to reflect on the resources that he's lucky to have access to, and how this plays a role in his determination to help others overcome their barriers that may be preventing them from getting the same access.
5. If you could change one thing about how diabetes is supported globally, what would you hope to see?
I believe the main things is to put people on the same level, not just globally but also between states within countries for access to medication and knowledge. For example, the states in Australia all have different pricing and access. That already doesn't make it quite fair and that's just one country.
Overall, I think it would be nice to see all forms of diabetes having equal resources. For example, providing free options such as free sensors for everyone, or if your meter breaks then you can access a free one. Another note to point out is that people with addiction actually get free needles through the healthcare system whereas when I first got diagnosed with diabetes, I had to pay for my needles...
6. What is one thing you think is done quite well in regards to supporting diabetes and people managing diabetes?
The biggest one for me is how technology has gone leaps and bounds for diabetes in general. I think this has helped in the long run with actually having options available for people managing diabetes to choose from. Sometimes, I feel like people forget where we come from and how far we've come in our devices and technologies. Sure, they're not perfect. But from where we started, they have definitely provided great support.
I know Australia has become a leading country in type 1 diabetes research so it's a privilege for me to be from a country that has advanced in these technologies very well to help make my condition more manageable.
7. If you could redefine diabetes to my younger self how would you do so?
When I got diagnosed, the first thought I remember that consumed me was:
"Can I eat my sweets and Chinese food like sweet and sour pork and lollies".
Now, I would go back and tell myself that managing diabetes is less about the meals. I would tell my younger self to just do a test and try to maintain a steady line. Focus more on keeping my levels balanced rather than "this a my needle for this meal".
8. Do you have any advice or tips for people wanting to educate and navigate around improving their access to diabetes resources?
Accessorising! This helped me find out what is available on the market to make my life easier. I didn't know about all these things that could help your life be a bit better like. For example, compression gloves for circulation or copper socks with wider tops that are better for your ankles, glucose tablets. I wish I had known about glucose tablets earlier over jelly beans. They help me to not over snack because I don't want to snack on a glucose tablet!
Spending a bit more time to let people know about your knowledge is a great starting point to help improve access to diabetes resource. For example, I don't have a pump currently. I recently got a healthcare program where if I was spending $5 more a week I could get a free insulin pump. If I had known that I would have probably got that a while ago. So now I'm on the waiting list. That's why I think it's important to keep up to date with all these things so you can make a difference in your life and then the people around you too. The first step is always awareness.
Living with diabetes looks very different for everyone, despite the shared struggles of having a diagnosis that requires your attention continuously throughout the day, everyday! Sometimes, we may all live in our own bubbles and may not realise or take into consideration other perspectives that would very much help us with our own journeys too!
As part of our new community collaborative project, we thought it could be refreshing to start discussions around global issues and how it may affect diabetes management and access.