News publications and other organizations are encouraged to reuse Direct Relief-published content for free under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International), given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

When republishing:

  • Include a byline with the reporter’s name and Direct Relief in the following format: "Author Name, Direct Relief." If attribution in that format is not possible, include the following language at the top of the story: "This story was originally published by Direct Relief."
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Republishing Images:

Unless stated otherwise, images shot by Direct Relief may be republished for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution, given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

  • Maintain correct caption information.
  • Credit the photographer and Direct Relief in the caption. For example: "First and Last Name / Direct Relief."
  • Do not digitally alter images.

Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.

Other Requirements:

  • Do not state or imply that donations to any third-party organization support Direct Relief's work.
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  • Advance permission is required to translate Direct Relief's stories into a language different from the original language of publication. To inquire, contact us here.
  • If Direct Relief requests a change to or removal of republished Direct Relief content from a site or on-air, the republisher must comply.

For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

Diabetes Care

Issues & Solutions

Quick Facts

Approximately 537 million people aged 20–79 years—or one in 10 adults—have diabetes, according to the 2021 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Atlas.

The number is growing rapidly, and current predictions estimate that 643 million adults will be living with diabetes by 2030. Three out of four people living with diabetes reside in a low or middle-income country.

As the global disease burden continues to shift from communicable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), diabetes has emerged as a top cause of death, responsible for an estimated 6.7 million deaths in 2021.

Diabetes: An Overview

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to produce and use insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your bloodstream. There a three primary types of diabetes: type 1, an autoimmune condition typically diagnosed in children or young adults that prevents your pancreas from producing enough insulin; type 2, a condition that prevents your body from effectively using insulin; and gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy.

Though the risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not fully understood, the risk factors for type 2 diabetes—the most common form of diabetes—include being overweight, obese or 45 years or older; having a family history of type 2 diabetes; and being physically active less than three times per week, among other factors, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to other health complications, such as chronic kidney disease, heart disease and nerve damage, many health complications can be delayed or prevented through early detection, lifestyle changes, and access to essential medicines and care.

Expanding Access to Diabetes Care and Treatment Globally

Since 2010, Direct Relief has partnered with IDF (International Diabetes Federation) and several leading pharmaceutical companies to source and deliver essential diabetes medications and supplies and improve health outcomes for people living with diabetes in low- and middle-income countries worldwide.

A young woman watches as a syringe is prepared during a diabetes education day in Bamako, Mali, pre-Covid. (Photo courtesy of Life for a Child)

Through its partnerships with Eli Lilly & Company, Life for a Child (LFAC), and the NGO Diabetes Australia, Direct Relief is supporting over 46,000 children and young people living with type 1 diabetes in 45 low-resource countries with insulin and essential supplies, such as reusable pens, pen needles, and blood glucose monitoring systems including test strips, meters, and lancets.

In addition, as part of its initiative to ensure local health care providers have capacity to receive and safely store donated, temperature-sensitive medications and therapies, such as insulin, Direct Relief is providing medical-grade refrigeration units to Life for a Child partner facilities across Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. Through these efforts, and plans for further expansion, LFAC is enabling children and young people living with diabetes in low-resource settings to access medicines and products needed to sustain their lives.

Learn More about Direct Relief’s Cold Chain Initiative

Addressing Gaps in Diabetes Care and Treatment During Emergencies

People with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, face unique challenges during natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Emergency situations can disrupt access to essential health services, life-sustaining medicines, nutritious food sources and safe drinking water, and contribute to physical and emotional stress, making it difficult to manage diabetes and other chronic diseases.

In coordination with IDF, Direct Relief is working to address gaps in diabetes care and treatment during natural disasters and other emergency situations through the strategic provision and rapid deployment of emergency medical supplies to treat diabetes at health facilities worldwide.

Health ProMed Nursing Director Angel Rodriguez, Ruben Bras of the Puerto Rico Primary Care Association and other ProMed staffers quickly load Humulin R insulin into cold storage at the ProMed San Juan clinic. Humulin R is used in emergency situations to stabilize a patient’s blood sugar. The medicines have become critical since the hurricane, with many patients battling stress and limited access to nutritious food. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Health ProMed Nursing Director Angel Rodriguez, Ruben Bras of the Puerto Rico Primary Care Association and other ProMed staffers quickly load Humulin R insulin into cold storage at the ProMed San Juan clinic. Humulin R is used to stabilize a patient’s blood sugar. The medicines from Direct Relief were critical after Hurricane Maria, with many patients battling stress and limited access to nutritious food. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Since 2019, Direct Relief has procured and delivered millions of tablets of oral diabetes medications, vials of insulin and diabetes-related consumables to providers in over 40 countries around the world, including many that are experiencing complex emergencies like Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Haiti.

Support for Diabetes Camps

Children with diabetes face unique challenges, including in school, which often lacks adequate health care services. As a result, children with diabetes can be excluded from various school activities.

Recognizing the importance of helping kids cope with diabetes and the stress it causes, organizations like the Diabetes Education & Camping Association and the American Diabetes Association organize camps to help children manage their condition while enjoying outdoor activities.

Eligible camps that meet enrollment criteria and abide by the requirements for donated product distribution receive medical supplies and medications free of charge. (Photo by Dayna Murphy/American Diabetes Association Camp)

Each year, with support from companies including BD and LifeScan, Direct Relief provides medical items such as syringes and sharps containers, lancets, and over-the-counter items to camps for children with diabetes and other chronic medical conditions.

After registering as a Direct Relief partner, camps can access Direct Relief’s online ordering platform and order the items they need.

How to Become a Direct Relief Partner

Health facilities and camps that are interested receiving material support from Direct Relief but are not registered as a Direct Relief partner are encouraged to fill out the form below to begin the application process, and for more information on becoming a Direct Relief partner, click here.

Partnership Spotlight

Giving is Good Medicine

You don’t have to donate. That’s why it’s so extraordinary if you do.