While progress has been made in preventing many noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), the World Health Organization found that deaths from diabetes increased by 70 percent from 2000 to 2019, signaling a critical need to disrupt the status quo for how countries are managing diabetes and other chronic conditions.
As part of our work assessing NCD supply chains, PATH uncovered many barriers that people living with diabetes face in acquiring the medicine and products they need to manage their condition. Due to concentration of care and treatment at higher-level facilities, dependency on private retail outlets for supply, stockouts, and high out-of-pocket costs, people living with diabetes are often unable to monitor their blood sugar levels, must ration medication, and reuse insulin needles. This lack of supply leads to greater risk of complications and imposes financial hardship on households. These findings have guided the work of the Coalition for Access to NCD Medicines and Products, a multisectoral group dedicated to strengthening supply security for people living with NCDs through advocacy, technical support, and tool development.
The Diabetes CarePak initiative began through a collaboration with Coalition members, including the Kenya Ministry of Health, along with people living with diabetes, medical professionals, local advocates, and other stakeholders. Embracing a human-centered design approach, we’re pioneering a co-packaging solution to overcome existing barriers. The CarePak project has expanded and is being rolled out in Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. Over the past two years, we teamed up with ministries of health to conduct a landscape assessment to understand the status of diabetes self-management, garnering insights through interviews with people living with diabetes, health professionals, pharmacy staff, and caregivers.
Here are five of the most common findings from the landscape assessment that will help guide the Diabetes CarePak project: