Supporting #YouthbeyondT1D

by HCC

Supporting #YouthbeyondT1D – On September 28th 2021, NCD Child hosted a webinar, “Youth in Action: Solutions to Addressing and Managing Type 1 Diabetes”.

In true NCD Child fashion – the webinar was youth-led with powerful youth moderators and young panelists living with type 1 diabetes from across the globe who shared their experiences advocating for diabetes prevention, care and management. The Healthy Caribbean Coalition was represented by Ms. Zanique Edwards, Healthy Caribbean Youth and young person living with type 1 diabetes in St. Lucia. Zanique was joined by Ruby Alam from Bangladesh, Esraa Elhaj from Sudan, and Bruno Helman from Brazil. All of the panelists spoke passionately about their incredible work in their diabetes community, specifically those living with type 1 diabetes. They spoke about how they are actively leading peer-to-peer mentorship networks, awareness campaigns, advocating for diabetes treatment and care and driving policymakers to do more.

Zanique spoke about how critical the support by family, peers and her healthcare team is in managing her diabetes. She also spoke about the importance of the prevention of type 2 diabetes; this is important to her as many children are now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes earlier than ever before in the Caribbean. This is why Zanique is so involved in school-based health education activities, and supports efforts to make the school environment healthier.

When asked about one takeaway from the inspirational session, Zanique said, “the session solidified for me that if we join forces together, we are more likely to achieve our goal. A goal as big as getting certain health technologies available to the Caribbean – such as the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)”.

During the session Zanique shared her own difficulties in accessing her new CGM. Unfortunately she had to travel all the way to the United States – an experience that she knows is not feasible for many St. Lucians. As a young advocate, securing health technologies for young people living with diabetes is one of Zanique’s personal goals.

The uninterrupted, high-quality supplies of insulin and other essential medicines, vaccines, and health technologies for diabetes care and treatment is one of the key policy recommendations outlined in the Healthy Caribbean Coalition Policy Brief – Global Diabetes Compact: Diabetes Prevention and Control in the Caribbean

Read more about the priority policy asks in the brief here.

Kudos to you and all of the work that you are doing, Zanique! Let’s continue to think about how we can work together to support #youthbeyondT1D!

Who is Zanique Edwards?

Zanique is a member of the Healthy Caribbean Youth (youth arm of the HCC) and an active member in her community in St. Lucia. She served as the President of the Youth Diabetes Foundation for 5 years and has dedicated her life to being a representative voice for youth living with Diabetes in Saint Lucia. She has spearheaded several youth-oriented programmes to sensitize newly-diagnosed children living with diabetes on the necessary lifestyle changes, management techniques and established a support network among other young persons living with Diabetes, family and key personnel in the medical community. Zanique also represented St. Lucia as a Young Leader in Diabetes in Abu Dhabi at the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2017 Congress.

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