In some parts of the world, misinformation and misconceptions around diabetes is still very common. Our friend Chipimo from Zambia is tackling this by taking diabetes education to the airwaves through his very own radio show!
Due to a growing and challenging population of diabetes in Zambia, being a diabetes advocate for type 1 diabetes makes life easier for youths such as myself. There is a lot of learning and sharing, and this makes the burden of diabetes light. The fact that many people are not aware of diabetes and its complications in Zambia, makes it even harder for them to understand many things about diabetes and this is alarming. To add on, people with diabetes often experience stigma that comes with the disease.
With the Zambian cultural set up, the stigma arises in association with the belief that diabetes is caused by a person’s behavior, and that it is a curse. This leads to negative stereotyping and discrimination by others. Some people who do not have diabetes tend to perceive diabetes as a non-stigmatized condition. I know for a fact that you can’t understand this condition better if you aren’t the one living with it.
I believe in the phrase “education is the key to success”. So educating people about diabetes from a patient’s perspective through a radio program was a good place to start. This is because you can listen to the radio at any time, and people are more responsive on a radio platform in my country. It makes communication easier and effective, for the fact that it is easier and cheaper to access.
Sharing the struggles about Type 1 diabetes to the world, helps not only me but the next person affected by the condition; specifically the people that feel overpowered by diabetes, it’s like being there for them and at the same time making new friends.
My radio show features different topics, experiences and people but with the same goal. To bring people with diabetes together, to share the experience of living with diabetes, and to educate and bust myths about diabetes. This helps listeners to be cautious and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, better still give an insight to the Zambian Community of what it’s like to live with this deadly condition that never stops demanding.
Having said all these things, I have focused on the radio show, and this has helped me direct my energy towards diabetes advocacy. I have met and interacted with many amazing and great people. All with different opinions, experiences and backgrounds, including people with diabetes and people without diabetes, who all want to be part of the solution and be a voice for the voiceless people living with diabetes in Zambia.