December 4, 2017
As a young woman living with type 1 diabetes, I have never been one to sit at home and let the world pass me by. Therefore, when the opportunity to study post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda arose, I decided I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Raised in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US, I have experienced diabetes care under three different medical systems. Everywhere I reside or travel, I aspire to learn how people live with diabetes.
Upon arrival in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, I wanted to better understand the level of access to medicine and services, self-management techniques, and the perception of future prospects from those living with the condition. With the help of the Rwanda Diabetes Association (RDA), Marjorie’s Fund, and Dr. Etienne Amendezo, I was able to meet individuals living with diabetes in Kigali. Salama Umutoni, a 22-year-old female student at the University of Rwanda, was diagnosed with type 1 at age 13. Abdallah Murenzi is a businessman in his mid-30s who lives with type 2 diabetes. And Mariam Uwase, a 35-year-old nurse and mother of three, was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GDM) during her second pregnancy. Together, these three individuals painted a picture of what life with diabetes in Kigali looks like.