Empower diabetics to control their blood sugar: cover FreeStyle Libre on SA medical aids

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Bridget McNulty
Bridget McNulty signed this petition

When you live with diabetes (particularly Type 1 diabetes), life is a constant balancing act. Don't go too low, don't go too high. Balance your medication with food, exercise, the weather, hormones etc etc etc.

The way to find out how you're doing is by checking your blood sugar: usually with a fingerprick blood test. But that only gives you one value at this moment in time, not a picture of where your blood sugar has been and where it's going. It's very easy to miscalculate, which leads to more highs and more lows. These are frustrating and potentially dangerous (even lethal). Never mind having to prick your finger 4 to 5 times a day.

New diabetes technology is emerging that can eradicate this problem. The trouble is that it's very expensive - except for one version, called the FreeStyle Libre, which is significantly cheaper than other CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitors). However, it's still unaffordable for most South Africans - even those of us lucky enough to be on medical aid. While the state sector is fighting to include the FreeStyle Libre, medical aids have told the manufacturer that there's "no demand" for it among their members. This is not true.

We are looking for one innovative industry leader in South African medical aids, who will cover the FreeStyle Libre for their Type 1 diabetic patients. We understand that it will need to be financially viable, and the manufacturer assures us they will put together a low-risk deal so that the medical aid won't lose money. There is abundant data to prove that using the FreeStyle Libre ensures tighter control of blood sugar, better HbA1c results and fewer diabetes complications and hospitalisations.

We didn't ask to be diabetic. We do ask to be empowered to take control of our condition. Please join us in making enough noise so that our request will be heard.