Bonnici Francois

Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Despite the great strides made in the diabetes field in the last two decades, the world has entered a new millennium with young people continuing to be denied their basic rights to accessible health care - including life-saving drugs, social services and education, due to a lack of adequate awareness and investment.  In the face of present-day globalisation trends, decline in health care spending and managed care practices, the translation of recent scientific advances will initially lead to a worsening situation for the poor and the voiceless of this world.  The denial of life-saving drugs, of suitable educational and day-care environments, of opportunities to learn self-management skills and become fully integrated in society weighs heavily on the shoulders of young people with diabetes and their carers.


Advocacy, a formidable weapon in the war against diabetes, is becoming an essential component of diabetes care.  How does one become an advocate?  Who should speak for children and adolescents enabling them to receive age-specific and age-appropriate care?  How to resolve the resource allocation debate between equity and efficiency at health policy level?  Which issues are relevant to a particular society?  How do we train paediatricians to become involved or increase their efforts in diabetes advocacy and give more meaning to their career?


This address will attempt to demonstrate that advocacy cannot stop at the border of one's country nor at the border of one's personal concern.  We all have the opportunity and responsibility to leverage additional resources and mobilise support to make this a better world.