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Since 2016, the Sonia Nabeta Foundation has worked to help children with type 1 diabetes avoid the hospitalization—or worse—that can result when their illness goes undiagnosed or unchecked in its progression. The organization has served thousands of young people each year through dozens of clinics across Uganda.

With support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the nonprofit launched a pilot program in Ghana to support children living with the disease. As part of this program, the organization opened a new clinic in La Nkwantanang Madina, near Accra, in November 2022, which offers access to diabetes nurses, peer educators, a social worker, and a pediatric endocrinologist, as well as medication, education, and other assistance for patients and families.

The new clinic will eventually be the hub of a Sonia Nabeta Foundation network in the country, including, as part of the pilot program, a mobile clinic.

Untreated type 1 diabetes can lead to serious symptoms like heart disease and damage to the eyes, kidneys, feet, nerves, and even death. However, where there is greater familiarity with the disease, as well as the means to treat it including insulin and glucometers, these consequences can be prevented. Through its programs, including the new clinic and services in Ghana supported by SNF, the Sonia Nabeta Foundation works in honor of its namesake, who lost her life to type 1 diabetes in 2015, to expand access to the knowledge, medicine, and equipment that can help ensure these consequences are indeed prevented.

"When my sister, Sonia, lost her battle to type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the tender age of 24, after enduring it for nearly 16 years, a sense of purpose and mission was born,” says founder Vivian Nabeta. “T1D was not a top priority for governments in sub-Saharan Africa already grappling with a plethora of other communicable diseases but the condition was exacting a heavy toll on the lives of children, adolescents, and young adults!

“It was clear that simply providing insulin to a child in the midst of abject poverty was far from adequate. A comprehensive care model needed to be developed to transform the health prospects of children living with this condition."