Arnold Clavio’s non-profit org brings affordable insulin to PGH pedia ward
Award-winning broadcast journalist Arnold Clavio continues the good work of his 13-year-old non-profit organization, Igan ng Pilipinas Foundation Inc., with a program that will increase awareness of Type 1 diabetes, especially in children afflicted with the condition.
Made possible with the support of uni-branded medicine line, RiteMed, Igan Foundation’s latest endeavor aims to provide hope to diabetic children from underserved communities, with the more affordable insulin drug Insulyf that is crucial in their day-to-day life.
In collaboration with C.H.I.L.D. Foundation, the prime supporter of the UP-PGH Department of Pediatrics, Igan Foundation and Ritemed together serve as patrons of the “Adopt a Diabetic Child” program of the government hospital’s Endocrinology and
“For the past four years, Igan foundation has been supporting the ‘Adopt-a-Child with Diabetes’ program and we are happy that we have successfully addressed the needs of the children on a sustainable basis. As we embark on this new partnership with Ritemed, we hope to be able to extend our assistance to more children out there who are also afflicted with the disease,” said Arnold Clavio at the project’s official launch in Annabel’s Restaurant, Quezon City.
Himself diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2004, the GMA Network and DZBB anchor told The Sunday Times Magazine that this particular advocacy is very close to his heart.
“Ang Type 2 diabetes kasi kayang i-control ng diet at exercise, pero ang Type 1, nangangailangan talaga ng insulin para mapahaba ang buhay ng pasyente—kaya mas lalong dapat may access dito ang mga batang may sakit nito. (Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise, but Type 1 diabetes needs the help of insulin to prolong the lives of those with the condition, especially in children).
Obviously a believer in the power of information, Clavio took the launch as an opportunity to further explain the ailment with the help of Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua, associate professor and chief of the Endocrinology Section, Department of Pediatrics, UP-PGH.
“One of the tell-tale signs that your child may have Type 1 diabetes is habitual bedwetting despite being toilet-trained. That is not normal and it should be a cause for alarm,” the doctor warned.
Formerly known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow glucose or sugar to enter cells to produce energy. Various factors may contribute to Type 1 diabetes including genetics and exposure to certain environmental triggers including viruses.
Although it typically appears in children or adolescents, it can also develop in adults.
Differentiating between the two types of diabetes, Dr. Cua added, “Unlike Type 2 diabetes which is a lifestyle-related disease resulting to insulin-resistance, Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Its major symptoms include weight loss despite increased appetite, excessive thirst, and frequent urination like I said earlier. Children with Type 1 diabetes mellitus need insulin therapy for survival and well being.”
She went on to discuss the tests used to diagnose Type 1 diabetes mellitus including fasting blood glucose, random blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (A1C) Test.
HbA1c shows a person’s average sugar level for the past few months and it measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to the hemoglobin in the system. A percentage between 5.7 and 6.4 indicates that a person is at risk for Type 1 diabetes. A level of 6.5 percent or higher is considered diabetic. This test can also be used to show how well a person with diabetes is controlling his or his sugars.
“Type 1 can be managed through proper diet, exercise, and insulin which is a necessity for many patients. Insulin is usually administered by injection, using a syringe or a pen, but some people now use an insulin pump,” continued the doctor.
She further warned that Type 1 diabetes could affect major organs in the body including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. These long-term complications develop gradually over the years and may be disabling or even life threatening, which is why early detection is important.
“But with appropriate care and treatment and better understanding of disease management, patients can live a long life,” she assured.
RiteMed general manager Nick A. Salud, who also shared the stage with Clavio and Dr. Cua in talking about Type 1 Diabetes, said for his part, “Since RiteMed started in the business, not only has it been committed to producing quality and affordable medicines accessible to more Filipinos but it has also pledged to take part in building a healthier country through its medical service programs and information campaigns.
We welcome this partnership with Igan Foundation as it gives us the opportunity to fulfil those commitments.”
Clavio also took the program launch as an opportunity to introduce Igan Foundation’s first ever beneficiary, Nicole Figueroa, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age six. It was for this child’s bone marrow transplant that the broadcast journalist organized what is now known as the annual Igan Cup Golf Tournament fundraiser, and she stood in front her benefactor’s guests all grown up and ready to begin her freshman year in college come June.
“Kaya po natin ginagawa ito para sa kinabukasan ng mga batang tulad ni Nicole (Our foundation’s work is all about helping provide a better future for children like Nicole),” Clavio humbly declared.
He hopes that in years to come, the group of 10 children supported by Igan Foundation under the “Adopt a Diabetic Child” program, will also find themselves in the same place—healthy and happy, with the rest of their lives ahead of them.
For more information, log on to Igan Foundation’s Facebookpage, www.childfoundationinc.org.ph, and www.ritemed.ph.