Children in the world's poorest countries to get free insulin

Novo NordiskNovo Nordisk has announced that it will provide diabetes care, including free insulin, to 10,000 children in some of the world's poorest countries. The five-year programme, called 'Changing the Future for Children with Diabetes', will begin in 2009 with an initial roll-out in Uganda, Tanzania, Guinea-Conakry and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is estimated that some 38,000 African children aged 0–14 have type 1 diabetes. Sick children are particularly vulnerable in poor countries. A child in sub-Saharan Africa diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has a life expectancy of less than one year. A child with the same condition in the developed world has the possibility to live a full life.

"The premature death of a child caused by lack of insulin is unacceptable, when a life-saving solution is available. We must work together across borders to keep these children from dying; this is why I welcome this new programme being launched by Novo Nordisk today," says Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, president-elect of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

The programme will be based on a hub-and-spoke concept (satellite centres around existing hospitals/clinics) aimed at building long-term solutions for improving availability, accessibility, affordability and quality of diabetes care for children with type 1 diabetes.

"As a diabetes care company we have an obligation to use our resources and expertise to help these children. This project will not only provide insulin free of charge to an extremely vulnerable group, it is also designed to build long-term solutions for insulin distribution and sustainable diabetes care for all people with diabetes in the world's poorest countries," says Lars Rebien Sørensen, president and chief executive officer of Novo Nordisk A/S.

To this end, the project’s aim is to collaborate with as many local partners as possible, including governments and diabetes associations, regional chapters of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and key opinion leaders. Efforts to improve the healthcare infrastructure of participating countries will also help the programme to survive after the project period ends.

"The World Diabetes Foundation is committed to funding capacity building, awareness creation and development of sustainable infrastructure within existing structures to improve the care for children with diabetes in developing countries. We will work with Novo Nordisk and other relevant stakeholders to achieve this objective," says Anil Kapur, managing director for the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF).

Novo Nordisk announced the 'Changing the Future for Children with Diabetes' programme in connection with the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care. In addition, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services. With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 26,550 employees in 80 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk's B shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Copenhagen and London. Its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'NVO'. For more information, visit www.novonordisk.com.

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