- Name: Theresie Nyirarukundo
- Disease: Type 1 Diabetes
- Contact: 078873880
My name is Theresie Nyirarukundo from Muhanga District. I am 29 years old and I have lived with Diabetes for 24 years now. During this Covid-19 Pandemic, I faced the challenges of poverty and a shortage of medicine. Sometimes I could take my time and go to the hospital but while arriving there, I could find that there is no medicine or they give you a smaller amount than usual. This affected me because reducing the dosage makes my condition worse.
Nurses and doctors are more focused on the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and response, and they leave people living with NCDs behind. It was also difficult for me to reach the hospital for treatment and insulin. This was because there were no means of transport in the lockdown and I couldn’t afford a private car. I would also sometimes get discouraged to go to the hospital because I could meet someone who has COVID-19 and I would get infected too. And for people living with NCDs they are more likely to become severely ill when infected with COVID-19.
As a tailor, I was no longer receiving customers as before the pandemic, so I had no income. I live with five people and I am the one who is supposed to take care of them and the money was not sufficient. I reduced the amount of insulin I used to take because as people living with Diabetes, we only take medicine when we take enough food. Most of the time I could find myself having low blood sugar levels because of insufficient food and this is dangerous if it is continuous and can cause damage to organs such as the eyes and kidneys.
There should be a lot of advocacy efforts specifically focusing on the problem of shortage of medicines as the lives of PLWNCDs often depend on these medicines. Some medical issues should be solved. Even though the services are quick, people living with NCDs still face a lot of problems. We have to wait in queues like other patients, but as hours go by, some patients with Diabetes start having low blood sugar levels. It would be good to have a doctor at the hospital who only takes care of people living with NCDs or Diabetes specifically, and to have a specific day for them so that they can be seen for treatment more quickly.