Diabetes Care: Insulin Pens and Stories of Resilience

Diabetes Care: Insulin Pens and Stories of Resilience

News & Events > News & Stories > Diabetes Care: Insulin Pens and Stories of Resilience
People assume I’m 50 years old while I’m only 40. We’ve aged a lot ever since [my daughter’s diagnosis]. I still think about her future. It is exhausting.
Siwar's Father

Siwar is a six-year-old girl, is being treated for type 1 diabetes by the Medecins sans Fronteires (MSF) medical team in Arsal, a town in north-eastern Lebanon.   

Siwar is a six-year-old girl, is being treated for type 1 diabetes by the Medecins sans Fronteires (MSF) medical team in Arsal

Living with constant anxiety, Siwar’s father shares the experience of many parents whose children are living with type 1 diabetes and who must, therefore, inject insulin every day simply to stay alive. 

Diabetes is a complicated disease that requires meticulous care. People living with type 1 diabetes need to regularly inject insulin daily to stay alive and healthy for the rest of their lives. Sudden imbalances in blood sugar levels, if not monitored, can have serious complications and long-term side effects. Type 1 disease impacts people of all ages, including infants, children, and adolescents, making it difficult for both parents or caregivers and patients alike to adapt to this lifelong chronic disease. 

Since 2022, MSF introduced insulin pens as part of the care provided for patients living with diabetes in our clinics in Arsal and Hermel, in the northeast of Lebanon, to ease an aspect of the challenges individuals with diabetes face. Insulin pens, unlike traditional syringes, come pre-filled, eliminating the need to draw insulin from vials and simplifying the process. With a dial or push-button mechanism, precise dose adjustments reduce the risk of inaccurate dosing and potential complications. The compact, robust, and portable nature of insulin pens benefits individuals on the go, like displaced populations or refugees, enhancing adherence to treatment plans. Their use improves adherence and quality of life, especially for challenging cases such as children and adolescents managing diabetes. 

Life with diabetes is a challenge at baseline for any of us, no matter how privileged or underprivileged we are… but for people who lack a safe space or proper housing, food security, refrigeration, access to electricity… these kinds of things… really facilitate an ease in their daily lives, the logistics of being able to stay alive because that’s what insulin is for a type 1 diabetic.
Dr. Beverly Prater, MSF chronic disease doctor
In MSF clinics in Arsal and Hermel, northeast of Lebanon, all people with type 1 diabetes have switched from vials & syringes to insulin pens.

Explore more stories from patients and staff about how these changes have not only improved medical outcomes but also enhanced the quality of life for those living with chronic conditions. 

Ali, 16, from northeastern Lebanon, was 7 when he was diagnosed w/ type 1 #diabetes. It was hard to adapt to #insulin injections w/ syringes, 5 times daily. But: “When I started using insulin pens, I also started going outside again and seeing friends.”
For fun-loving Moussa, 10, diagnosed w/ #diabetes at age 3, insulin pens allow him to take charge of his treatment and live a ‘normal’ life. “I have been using insulin pens for the last year...I take it at home or at school & even when there’s a party. I’m used to it now."
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