We've had the privilege of featuring several folks in the global D-community over the past few months, and we're really excited to bring you this latest edition from Serbia.

If you're like us, you might need to check where Serbia is on a map. Formerly part of Yugoslavia, it's located in the middle of the Balkans, land-locked and surrounded by nearly a dozen countries, including Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Our guest today is Ninoslav, who we featured a few weeks ago when he won the giveaway contest for Phil Southerland's new book, Not Dead Yet. We've invited Ninoslav to share a bit more about what life with diabetes is like in Serbia:

 

 

A Guest Post by R. Ninoslav  

Innovation 2015

 

My name is Raskovic Ninoslav and I have type 1 diabetes for 13 years. I live in Pancevo, Serbia, which is one of the countries that once made up Yugoslavia. Years of living through various wars and crises have affected the people in these areas. The number of patients suffering from chronic diseases is increasing daily and the health system has had a difficult time monitoring these changes. According to unofficial data, diabetes affects around 630,000 people in Serbia.

Realizing that people with diabetes have a lot of problems in daily life, four years ago I started a blog, called Beat Diabetes, with which I wanted to motivate young diabetics in Serbia not to surrender — and let them know that normal life with diabetes is just like any other. So far I have run seven marathons to show people with diabetes that they can do everything that other people can do. I realized that the Serbian society has a high level of discrimination towards patients with diabetes. There are no motivational lectures or counseling that should help those who were suffering from diabetes.

When you get diabetes in Serbia, you can't get the right information on the treatments of the disease, due to overworked doctors who do not have time to devote to each patient properly. This is where the problems that later affect the health of the patient come from. Until a few years there had been counseling for the diabetic patients who were socialized and share various experiences but it was canceled by the order of the Ministry of Health. Now all these young people are left to themselves. They do not know of any doctors that they need to go and they just make big mistakes and we all know the consequences. Diabetics in Serbia haven't got good education about living with diabetes.

The Serbian society has enormous prejudice and ignorance about people with diabetes, such as their opportunities for education and work. It often happens that when seeking employment with diabetes, people are rejected because of their illness. Employers confuse us with drug addicts and drunks. {wow! we added underlining} Because of this, many diabetics conceal their disease. They do not follow their therapy when needed and the result is poor control of disease and complications. In smaller cities, it is almost impossible to get a job, and children and students have a lot of problems in school.

The health insurance for most diabetics do not even cover the basic things needed to control diabetes:

  • Test strips
    • Only 3 boxes (150 test strips) are given to patients if they are younger than 26 years of age or to pregnant women
    • Only 1 box (50 test strips) if you are older than 26 years
    • If you have type 2, you are not even eligible for strips

     

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  • Needles for the pen
    • 30-150 pen needles per month if you are under 26 years or pregnant women
    • 30 pen needles if you are older than 26 years

     

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  • Insulin pumps are given to:
    • Children with brittle diabetes
    • Those with one of these three things: HBA1C higher than 7.5%, microalbuminuria and nephropathy
    • Pregnant women who have one of these three findings HBA1C higher than 7.5%, microalbuminuria and nephropathy

     

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Every 6 months, we go to the drugstore for supplies for the insulin pump. Every 5 years we can change insulin pumps, but then you have to go back to the Health Commission to apply as if it were the first time. It often happens that the pharmacy does not have supplies for insulin pump so that we are forced to go back to pen therapy.

There are many regional associations of diabetics who are not related to each other, but they have a clear common goal and a strategy. Fortunately the advent of the Internet established various sites and various forums where people with diabetes socialize together and share their own experiences. It helps them a lot to get the right information and to manage his own life. One such site is DiabetesMine.

Thank you for existing and receive greetings from all diabetic patients from Serbia!

 

 

Thank you for sharing, Ninoslav! Sounds like a daily struggle, and we'd sure like to help if we could.

Meanwhile, if any other readers out there would to tell us about life with diabetes in your country, please email us!

 

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

Disclaimer

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.