Young Woman Joins the Tanzanian Diabetic Youth Alliance
My name is Rukia Mbwana, and I’m 21 years old. I’m from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
I have been diabetic since 2003. I was 8 years old when I was diagnosed and didn’t know anything about diabetes. I’d never even heard about Type 1 diabetes before my diagnosis and certainly didn’t know anyone who had it. My parents were shocked too because they had no previous awareness about the condition. In our society diabetes is known as the disease of elder people and not children. Type 2 diabetes is the only diabetes many know.
But thanks to the doctors and educators, we began to understand things and finally I got used to the situation. I’m now an advance-level graduate and I have passed my final exams. I’m now waiting to go to university, where I wish to earn a bachelor of science in medicine in order to become a medical doctor.
Diabetes care in Tanzania is quite good. Clinics are expanding with about 33 diabetic clinics in Tanzania. There is still a need to educate people about diabetes, and this is especially true in rural areas, but currently, there are a lot of efforts being done by the Tanzanian Diabetes Association and other stake holders to ensure that awareness is spread all over. Along those efforts, the youths with diabetes in Tanzania have established an alliance that goes by the name Tanzanian Diabetic Youth Alliance. I’m one of the leaders in the alliance. This alliance is doing lots of things to ensure that diabetic awareness throughout Tanzania. So far we have done some advocacy projects and have visited schools in order to raise awareness there. Day by day, the views of people about diabetes is changing as awareness is spreading.
Thanks to my fellow diabetic youth from Tanzania, John Peter Mwolo, I learned about this website and he’s encouraged me to join Beyond Type 1 in their mission to spread awareness and build a strong global T1 community. Everyday I’m learning a lot and continue to be inspired.