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Research Stream: Global Health

Global health is an area of study, research and practice that aims to improve health and to achieve equity in health for all people globally. There is an epidemic of diabetes, with an estimated 75% of people with diabetes globally living in disadvantaged countries. The team is engaged in observational studies of people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and of diabetes related health care systems in many different countries. The latter are facilitated by links with diabetes aid organisations Insulin For Life and Life For a Child.

Type 1 Diabetes Outcomes in Disadvantaged Regions

Usually a team including a medical student researcher, Dr. Graham Ogle and partners from the Life For a Child program evaluate health outcomes for youth with diabetes in disadvantaged regions.

Hands holding the world. Credit: Photo by Geronimo Giqueaux on Unsplash, licensed under <a href=https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/>CC0</a>

Keeping Insulin Cool Without a Refrigerator in Less-Resourced Countries

It is recommended that insulin vials should be kept in the refrigerator at least until in use, yet an estimated 50% of people with diabetes in disadvantaged regions do not have access to a refrigerator. Traditional methods of cooling in less-resourced countries include clay pots and damp goat skins. A study of these low cost cooling methods demonstrated that the low cost devices reduced storage temperatures, some close to standard room temperature, even in hot humid climates. Further studies are needed on insulin stability.

Cooling devices that were studied in Khartoum. Credit: Dr Graham Ogle.

Point-of-Care Instruments for Blood and Urine Tests to Monitor Diabetes

Regular tests of blood sugar (glucose) control, blood fats (‘cholesterol’) and kidney function are recommended to guide diabetes care. In well-resourced regions these tests are usually conducted in a pathology lab. Such facilities are not always available in remote regions, at diabetes camps and after disasters. Portable test systems exist. The team has demonstrated excellent results comparing a portable test system and hospital pathology lab, and describe results from its use in overseas countries as part of diabetes care post-disaster and at diabetes camps for poor youth.

Lena Rennick & Neil Donelan pictured with the Point of Care (portable) system as part of humanitarian aid by the Fiona Kwok Diabetes Screening Program of Insulin for Life in a youth diabetes camp in the Philippines.


Usually in partnership with Dr Graham Ogle and the Life For a Child program analyses of health care provision in less-resourced settings are conducted.

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