Lebanon’s Economic Crisis Takes its Toll on Diabetic Patients
During the 16th edition of the World Diabetes Day conference, the Lebanese Society of the Endocrinology Diabetes and Lipids – LSEDL, in collaboration with the Chronic Care Center – CCC, launched the “Diabetes Cannot Wait” campaign that sheds the light on the concept of Access to Comprehensive Care “. Panelists representing the LSEDL, CCC, and the order of Nurses discussed the various challenges diabetic patients are facing during this period.
With more than 529,900 adults and 4,000 children living with diabetes in Lebanon, access to medication and medical supplies has been a struggle due to the severe economic crisis Lebanon has been going through in the last 20 months. The healthcare system was hugely impacted due to several factors, among which the import of medications and medical supplies that have been on halt for 6 months.
To expound on the severity of the situation, Dr. Paola Atallah – Head of the Lebanese Society of the Endocrinology Diabetes and Lipids explained that “11% of adults aged between 20 – 79 years old live with diabetes in Lebanon”
Dr. Atallah highlighted that “the dwindling supplies of essential and innovative drugs, is exposing diabetic patients to life-threatening complications if not treated in a timely manner and with uninterrupted access to their medications.”
Access to insulin and medical supplies is more critical for Type 1 diabetic patients, and on this point, Mrs. Michelle Abi Saad, Administrative Director at CCC stated that “Children with Type1 diabetes are reliant on insulin for survival and daily blood glucose testing for adequate treatment. We are struggling to ensure a continuous supply of insulins and medical supplies to our children and the type 1 diabetic patients aged > 21 years registered at the center. We fear that these challenges will eventually compromise the quality of life of more than 2,700 patients that rely on the services and support of the CCC as well as the quality of care they receive at the Center, an IDF Center of Excellence in Diabetes Care“.
Dr. Therese Abi Nasr added that insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Low levels of insulin prevent glucose uptake by the cells. When this happens, blood glucose levels rise, and over time, these increased levels can damage blood vessels and reduce the supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s organs and nerves.
The lack of accessible diabetes medications represents a dire problem for the medical society as well, and on this point, the President of the Nurses’ Order Rima Sassine Kazan focused on the challenges they are facing as front-liners with diabetic patients “Having stable blood glucose level is critical for diabetic patients. Unfortunately, Lebanese diabetic patients are fighting episodes of hyperglycemia due to the unavailability of drugs. The increase in blood glucose levels might contribute to a quick progression of the disease and will lead to micro and macrovascular complications.”.
The Lebanese Society for Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Lipids is a scientific medical committee, part of the Lebanese Order of Physicians, dedicated to bringing Lebanese endocrinologists into a scientific community working together to advance and innovate endocrinology in Lebanon.
The Chronic Care Center is a medico-social institution specializing in treating and following childhood chronic diseases: Thalassemia and Type I Diabetes. The Center is a member of the International Federation of Diabetes- IDF and recognized as an IDF Center of Excellence in Diabetes Care
About Order of Nurses
Headquartered in the capital Beirut, the Order of Nurses gathers all nurses with a degree and who have the right to exercise the nursing profession.
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