"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Medicine or food? People with diabetes in Liberia sometimes have to choose from the 2.

Diabetes is increasing worldwide. The number of individuals living with the disease has quadrupled to 108 million for the reason that Nineteen Eighties. 537 million.

This dramatic increase is basically on account of a rise in Type 2 diabetes and associated risk aspects equivalent to being chubby or obese.

For a few years, diabetes was considered a disease of the wealthy and rare in sub-Saharan Africa. This isn’t any longer the case. today 24 million people One in 22 adults within the region has diabetes and the speed is rising rapidly.

In Liberia, one in all them The poorest nations In sub-Saharan Africa, it’s reported that an estimated 2.1% Its population of 5.2 million resides with diabetes. More than half of them are. UndiagnosedHighlighting the intense burden of diabetes within the country.

The available research on diabetes in Liberia doesn’t include people's voices and stories. It shouldn’t be rooted in people's lived experiences. As a result, research findings rarely lead to alter.

Our goal the study The aim was to grasp the lived experiences of individuals with diabetes in Liberia. We used the photovoice method, providing 10 Liberian adults with cameras to take photographs representing their lives. Through discussion of the meaning of their images, we gained insight into local assets and desires.

Participants were recruited from Redemption Hospital in Monrovia. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we partnered with the Adventist University of West Africa to facilitate the interviews.

Our study identified two major challenges: food insecurity and health care neglect.

Worrying in regards to the next meal

Participants reported worrying about food availability, compromising food quality, skipping meals, and more Facing hunger. They were often forced to choose from food and medicine.

Not taking diabetes medication often can result in serious consequences. Hypoglycemia or hyperglycemiaComa and sometimes death.

One of the participants was diagnosed with diabetes 4 years ago Diabetic retinopathya typical complication of diabetes that causes vision loss.

He had been unable to work since his diagnosis and was completely depending on his sisters for financial support and the kindness of friends in his community.

During severe financial hardship, the 30-year-old faced starvation.

When I don't have money, I don't eat.

If people like this survive the short-term consequences of starvation, repeated experiences of hunger may also put individuals with diabetes in danger for long-term consequences equivalent to Cognitive impairment.

Participants also reported concerns in regards to the limited food options health care providers prescribed for his or her diets. They were generally advised to avoid major meals. High glycemic index Like white rice and cassava dumbboy Those that raise blood sugar quickly and replace them with foods like bulgur wheat and green plantains, as they supply higher blood glucose control.

It was not at all times possible to follow these recommendations because foods equivalent to bulgur wheat and green plantains were way more expensive.

Behind the queue

of Liberia 14 years of civil war. Together with The Ebola outbreak It has had a devastating impact on the country's health care system.

As a result, the country faces unique challenges in addressing diabetes due to the country's Limited health infrastructurewhich ignores people living with chronic illnesses.

In 2018, only 22% could provide publicly funded health care facilities. appraisal and diabetes management. This makes it very difficult, for instance, to get basic diabetes care equivalent to testing, medication and diabetes education.

Research participants confirmed this. One expressed his frustration with the local hospital and the shortage of resources and resources dedicated to diabetes patients. He was particularly frustrated that his local hospital was running out of routine medicines.

Sometimes within the hospital, they don't have all the drugs. Yeah, so the entire frustrating part is if you get there, and the drugs isn't there, you may have to pay in your prescription. With the prescription, he can only write for me, and I’ll attempt to get it, because I need to be treated. They offer you a prescription, then you definitely go to the drug store.

Participants also described how their religious faith helped them cope and maintain hope in living with diabetes. Despite the difficulties, his transcendent hope remained.

Way forward

Our findings highlight the necessity to improve the health and quality of life of individuals living with diabetes in Liberia.

Our interview subjects shared their struggles with diabetes in a rustic with few resources for treatment. Example of Paulina Bleah.

Based on our findings, we recommend the next:

  • Increasing diabetes management priorities and resources. It will allocate adequate resources for screening, diagnostic testing, medication, diabetes supplies and diabetes education.

  • Integrated diabetes centers to facilitate continuity of care. To one of the best of our knowledge, there are currently no public or private diabetes centers in Liberia.

  • Community food program with healthy options. These should include community gardens and food banks.