The World Diabetes Day, led by the International Diabetes Federation and its member associations around the world, is always an opportunity to raise awareness and advocate for the wellbeing of diabetes patients. In Rwanda, together with the Ministry of Health of Rwanda, the Rwanda Biomedical Center, Rwanda Diabetes Association and Team Type 1, the world Diabetes Day was celebrated around the cycling tour of Rwanda (Tour du Rwanda).
As seen in the map, the race takes place all over the country. Our team of 15 people from the Rwanda Diabetes Association and the Rwanda Biomedical Center (as well as 70 student volunteers) used this opportunity to raise awareness and offered free screenings for the public at several stops along the race. In Rwamagana we screened a total of 167 people, in Huye we screened 151 people, in Musanze we screened 221 people, in Nyanza we screened 198 people and in Rubavu we screened 145 people. At each stop we provided information on diabetes in Rwanda and screened people for blood pressure, blood glucose, body mass index and physical activity.
We were joined by our partners at Team Type 1, an organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, that strives to instill hope and inspiration for people around the world affected by diabetes. They describe their experience below:
The Tour of Rwanda is one of the most grueling cycling races on the African continent, covering almost 900 kilometers over difficult, mountainous terrain. For the past four years, the Team Type 1 Foundation has been participating by sending athletes with type 1 diabetes to compete; and not only are the athletes competing, but winning. Racing as Team Type 1, a squad of athletes comprised mostly of athletes with type 1 diabetes, won the Tour of Rwanda in both 2009 and 2010. In 2011, they won 5 stages and in 2012, took second place. The purpose of supporting the Tour of Rwanda and sending athletes with type 1 diabetes to compete is to raise public and government awareness of diabetes and spread hope to people with diabetes in a country where there has traditionally been little. The Foundation also brings hundreds of team jerseys to Rwanda in addition to diabetes testing supplies including blood glucose monitors and test strips to help children with type 1 diabetes in Rwanda Today, in partnership with the Rwandan Diabetes Association (RDA), the Team Type 1 Foundation supports 770 children living with Type 1 Diabetes in Rwanda.
(Photo source: http://www.tourdurwanda.rw/spip.php?article138)