Amita’s Story: Living with Type 1 Diabetes in Nepal
Editor’s Note: Life for a Child is a program that gets insulin to people with diabetes in underserved countries. Saving countless lives, Life for a Child gives children with type 1 diabetes the chance to live.
Amita, now 12 years old, recalls the symptoms that led her aunt and grandfather to bring her to the hospital.
“I was more thirsty, urinating a lot and doubled over in pain,” she says. Her urine contained such high amounts of sugar that it attracted ants.
By the time Amita received a diagnosis and insulin, she was in severe diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
“She was limp with exhaustion, doubled over with stomach pain and vomiting every five minutes,” recalls Dr. Santosh Pokhrel, a pediatrician in Butwal, Lumbini Nepal. “Her Aunt was visibly shaken with worry as she sat by her hospital bed, however she managed to calmly explain Amita’s recent symptoms. It was the usual story—tiredness, weight loss, thirst, and as soon as she mentioned Amita’s Grandfather had noticed ants were attracted to her urine, my suspicions were confirmed—this little girl was in DKA. She was seriously ill. It was hard to stabilize her, even with high doses of insulin.”
Amita’s parents had been working in another country—Dubai—for nearly a year when she was diagnosed. Their work in Dubai was the only way they could earn enough money to send back to Nepal to provide for their children and extended family.
Regardless of where Amita’s parents worked, they struggled to afford the insulin she needs in order to survive.
Getting reliable access to life-saving insulin
By enrolling in the Life for a Child program, Amita is able to get the insulin and blood sugar testing supplies she needs to survive, taking insulin at breakfast and dinner.
Today, Amita is thriving in school with excellent grades, playing on the volleyball team and checking her blood sugar regularly, too.
“Amita comes to visit me every two months to collect her supply of insulin and test strips and is doing well. The great news is that, despite having a lot of time out of school to come to the hospital, she is near the top of her class and dreams of becoming a teacher herself,” explains Dr. Pokhrel.
Recently, Dr. Pokhrel was able to organize a camp for girls with type 1 diabetes, led by nurses with expertise in caring for children with diabetes. Despite travel restrictions related to COVID-19, nine girls from Nepal were able to participate in the camp—some traveling by motorcycle from more than two hours away. They spent the day learning about living with diabetes, finding support from one another, measuring their blood sugars and taking insulin together, and enjoying the lighthearted fun of singing, dancing and telling jokes.
Now, Amita dreams of becoming a nurse, likely helping children just like her learn how to live with type 1 diabetes.
Life for a Child believes that no child should die of diabetes. Find out how you can help support young people living with diabetes in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities on their website.