Diabetes patients in South West District get care packs to better manage condition

(From left) Diabetes Singapore president Kalpana Bhaskaran; South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling; Becton, Dickinson and Company's executive vice-president James Lim, and Diabetes Singapore executive director Satyaprakash Tiwari.
(From left) Diabetes Singapore president Kalpana Bhaskaran; South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling; Becton, Dickinson and Company's executive vice-president James Lim, and Diabetes Singapore executive director Satyaprakash Tiwari.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
(From left) South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling; Becton, Dickinson and Company's executive vice-president James Lim; Diabetes Singapore executive director Satyaprakash Tiwari, and Diabetes Care, Singapore business manager Jeanet Wong.
(From left) South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling; Becton, Dickinson and Company's executive vice-president James Lim; Diabetes Singapore executive director Satyaprakash Tiwari, and Diabetes Care, Singapore business manager Jeanet Wong.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Up to 600 diabetes patients from lower-income families in South West District, who require daily insulin injections, will receive care packs containing needles and other essentials for a year.

Global medical technology company Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and charity organisation Diabetes Singapore have launched a Community Outreach Programme to donate 2,400 BD Diabetes Care Packs worth $124,000 to beneficiaries in the district.

The programme, the first of its kind here for medical devices, aims to make it easier for diabetics to self-administer insulin injections safely and more comfortably.

Each pack includes 100 BD Ultra-Fine PRO 4mm pen needles, alcohol swabs, and a sharps container for safe disposal of the pen needles.

The ultra fine needles penetrate the skin at an optimal depth when injecting insulin, thus reducing pain for patients.

The launch ceremony on Wednesday (April 7), held at Diabetes Singapore's Jurong West office to coincide with World Health Day, was officiated by South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling, who is also Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth as well as Trade and Industry.

"The two partners worked closely together to develop a holistic and innovative programme that meets the key needs of those with diabetes," she said. "The care pack makes it easier for diabetics to self-administer the insulin injections safely and more comfortably."

Mr James Lim, BD's executive vice-president and president of Greater Asia, said pain is one of diabetic patients' biggest worries, but with shorter and smaller needles, the fear is reduced, helping them better manage their condition.

By keeping their diabetes under control, patients also reduce the risk of other health problems.

Diabetes Singapore executive director Satyaprakash Tiwari said: "This creates a positive domino effect. Their other health conditions are stabilised and they can go to work."

Diabetes can lead to death and disability through long-term complications such as blindness, kidney failure, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Today, about 640,000 Singaporeans have the disease, one-third of whom are unaware they have the condition. For about 75,000 diabetics, insulin injections are a daily affair.

The total number of diabetic patients here is expected to exceed one million by 2050.

Diabetes Singapore will work with social support groups and hospital social workers to identify lower-income families for the programme.

While the initiative is being piloted only within South West District for its first year, both BD and Diabetes Singapore are open to expanding it and working with other Community Development Councils (CDCs).

"If there is demand, especially from other CDCs, we will discuss with BD if we can do more," said Mr Tiwari.

Added Mr Lim: "If the programme is successful and there are plans to expand it, we'd be more than willing to participate."